26 May

Many employer-employee relationships are based on some type of work contract, it can be fixed-term, permanent or part-time.

Most workers have at some point agreed to terms of employment by signing a contract of some sort but, do workers really know what an employment contract is or what it entails?

In this blog, UASA is going to briefly discuss contracts of employment and what you should look out for when signing your next contract.

Did you know: an employment contract can be a verbal agreement between and employer and employee? E.g. hiring someone to do your garden for one day and agreeing on a payment method and other terms of employment.

What is a contract of employment?

The contract of employment is vital, it regulates the terms and conditions of employment between the employer and the employee. It stipulates what the employer will provide in terms of benefits, and in terms of labour legislation. It specifies what the employee is entitled to receive in terms of company policy, company benefits, and labour legislation. 

An employment contract must be signed voluntarily and must comply with the laws of South Africa, this means you cannot be forced into signing a contract or be employed to do something outside of the law e.g. theft, murder or rape.

What are terms and conditions of employment?

Terms and conditions of employment must be discussed and agreed upon before signing the contract or commencement of work.

Every employer is required by law (Basic Conditions of Employment Act – section 29) to provide the employee with a written contract of employment no later that the first day of commencement of employment. The following must be clearly explained to the employee as stated in the contract:

  • A description of the parties and the nature of the business
  • The tasks to be performed
  • Duties of the employee
  • Basic employment conditions, annual leave, overtime etc.
  • Pension fund and medical aid (if any)
  • Notice periods and termination of employment provisions
  • Restraint of trade (if any)
  • Salary amount and pay day

Why is an employment contract important?

It regulates the behaviour of the employee in the workplace. All company policies and procedures, as well as your disciplinary code, form a part of the employment contract.

If there is no contract regulating these matters, it is extremely difficult to take action against the employee, or if the employee has never been informed, then he has the right to conclude that it does not exist.

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