Employment Contracts Considerations for Business Owners
Why Are Employment Contracts Essential To The Health Of Small Businesses?
Using an employment contract with your employees may have crossed your mind, but most small business owners do not follow through with using employment contracts.
Just to clarify, an employment contract is a written document which sets forth the terms of the professional relationship between the business and the employee. A well written employment contract will lay out the specific standards of both the employer’s and employee’s expectations.
With some exception, employment contracts are not a requirement and most employees in the United States do not work under an employment contract. However, the employment contract is usually the business’ best line of defense against employment issues and employee disputes.
Here Are 7 Reasons Why Employment Contracts Are Essential for Small Businesses.
An Employment Contract Is More Than Just A Formality
Many business owners think of employment contracts as simply a formality. In turn, they opt to use ‘offer letters’ or ‘letters of intent’ to hire. However, such letters are often drafted by business managers and only outline the basic job description. An employment contract drafted by an experienced business attorney will address the scope of employment, payment structure, other benefits of employment, employer roles and a host of other terms, some of which are described below.
The Employment Contract Sets Expectations
An employment contract can provide a sense of security for both the business owner and the employee. By setting the expectations in the employment contract the employee is made fully aware of what is expected from him or her. The employee knows that if they meet those expectations they will have job security. The business owner knows that if the employee fails to meet those expectations, the business will have grounds to enforce compliance or excuse the employee.
Employment Contracts Promote and Guarantee Confidentiality
Confidentiality is important to every business and should be addressed in the employment contract. every business has trade secrets, systems, methods and business records that they don’t want being known by the competition or the general public. Employment contracts promote confidentiality by informing the employee exactly what knowledge is to be kept private: during and even AFTER employment. Employment contracts guarantee confidentiality by placing some kind of punishment or other remedy on the disclosure of the confidential information.
The Employment Contract Will Help with Employee Retention
Good help is hard to find. So difficult in fact, that many businesses spend a lot of money on having other agencies find their talent. Then, the business must invest time and money into training the employee. With so many resources being pent on acquiring an employee, it is in the businesses best interest to keep that employee around for some time. An employment contract can help with employee retention by setting a contracted length of time for the employment, by setting a minimum time the employee must work before receiving certain benefits, and require a certain amount of notice when the employee leaves so that they can be replaced.
An Employment Contract Can Promote Performance with Incentives
Incentives can be worked into the employment contract to compensate employees for work that is above and beyond the call of duty, further helping the business to hold onto its best performers. By having set guidelines for the incentives program, employees are motivated to over-perform. Setting caps on the incentives can also help the business limit it’s exposure to unjust incentives.
An Employment Contract Protects Your Businesses Market
Non-Competition agreements have become the standard in most employment contracts as more and more businesses want to protect their markets. Non-solicitation agreements further protect the businesses client list. By protecting their market and their clients, a business can make sure employees do not become competitors. An experienced business attorney is especially necessary here as certain industries have laws controlling and limiting the scope of non-competes.
The Employment Contract Should Address Social Media and Internet Security
One of the hottest topics in employment law right now is cyber security. Employment contracts must specifically tell the employees what to look for and how to protect against cyber threats. One of the biggest cyber threats in the workplace is Social Media. Employment contracts should be used to stop or greatly limit the use of social media at work, especially on work computers.
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