Things an employment agreement must contain

Employment agreements must have certain clauses. Additional clauses should be agreed which suit the needs of the organisation and the employee.

The individual employment agreement must include:

  • the names of the employer and the employee (to make clear who are the parties to the agreement)
  • a description of the work to be performed (to make clear what the employee is expected to do)
  • an indication of the place of work
  • the agreed hours or an indication of the hours that the employee will work, this includes agreement on any or all of the following:
    • the number of hours
    • the start and finish times
    • or the days of the week the employee will work.
  • the wage rate or salary payable (must be equal or greater than the relevant minimum wage) and how it will be paid (if the employee won’t be paid in cash, this should be in the employment agreement or must be agreed in writing somewhere else)
  • a statement that the employee will get (at least) time-and-a-half payment for working on a public holiday
  • for relevant employees, an employment protection provision to apply if the employer’s business is sold or transferred, or if the employee’s work is contracted out
  • any other matters agreed on, such as trial periods, probationary arrangements, or availability provisions
  • the nature of the employment if the employment is fixed-term
  • a clear and plain explanation of how to get help to resolve employment relationship problems including:
    • a statement that most personal grievances must be raised within 90 days and,
    • a statement that sexual harassment personal grievances must be raised within 12 months.

More information: 

Sexual harassment grievance period extended to 12 months

Some things (like 4 weeks’ annual holidays) do not need to be in the employment agreement but the employer must still provide them by law. It is advisable to have the time of the breaks in the employment contract. If an employee and employer agree to better terms and conditions than minimum rights contained in the Act, these should be recorded in the employment agreement.

For the first 30 days, the individual employment agreement must contain terms consistent with the collective agreement, where there is a collective agreement in place.

30-day rule for new employees

The rest and meal breaks page has information about paid and unpaid breaks for employees.

Rest and meal breaks

An employment agreement can contain any other terms and conditions that the employee and employer have agreed to, for example, the notice period required for resignation and termination, a trial period provision, an availability provision, whether the employee can be made to work on a public holiday, or an annual closedown.

Employers need to think carefully about the needs of the business before they draft an employment agreement. For example, if there’s a possibility that they may need to cancel an employee’s shift, then the reasonable compensation and period of notice for this needs to be in the employment agreement.

Our employment agreement builder can provide you with information on mandatory and optional clauses.

Employment agreement builder

What an employment agreement can include

<img data-shortcode= What an employment agreement can include [PDF 703KB]

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Page last revised: 13 June 2023

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