Do my employees need a written agreement?
If you are an employer, having a written employment agreement in place between you and your employees is important to ensure that the legal obligations between you and your employees are clearly set out. For example, an employment agreement should include, at a minimum, the following:
- The Salary
- The Hours of Work
- The Commencement Date
- The Location (where an employee is required to work from)
- A detailed Job Description
This minimum framework should assist you in outlining the terms of the written agreement between you and your employee. However, you should also consider obtaining professional legal advice regarding a comprehensive and well-considered employment contract drawn for you. This will ensure you are protected if a dispute arises between you and your employees. It will also mean that any discussions and agreements you had with your employees are properly documented in the employment agreement
But what happens if I don’t have a written employment agreement?
If you do not have an employment agreement, this may spell trouble for you and your business. Unfortunately, disputes often arise between what employers and employees believe are the terms of employment, and they can be costly for your business. These can include the hours engaged or the type of job an employee was employed to do.
Even if you do not have a written agreement, you should ensure that records are recorded and maintained so that if a dispute arises, the records may be used to assist in any dispute resolution with your employees.
What kind of laws apply if there is no written agreement?
The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) set outs the minimum national employment standards that must be applied in an employee/employer relationship. They apply, regardless of whether there is a written agreement between you and your employee as your employment agreement must provide the at least the minimum, national employment standards.
The minimum national employment standards include: 
- Maximum Weekly Hours
- Requests for Flexible Working Arrangements
- Parental Leave and related entitlements
- Annual Leave
- Personal / Carer’s Leave
- Community Service Leave
- Long Service Leave
- Public Holidays
- Notice of Termination and Redundancy Pay
- Fair Work Information Sheet
The National Employment Standards mean that an employer cannot negotiate terms that are less than the standards set out in the Act. You should also check if an Award applies to any job advertised to make sure your agreements legally compliant. 
It is important to know that a contravention of the National Employment Standards will mean that an employee may be able to seek a civil remedy against you. If this happens, then you should seek professional legal advice.
What should I do now?
As an Employer:
- Ensure that you have a comprehensive employment agreement to avoid potential unnecessary disputes with your employees.
- Consult a lawyer to assist you with the drafting of the terms of your employment agreement so that your intentions as an employer are clear and that your employees understand the terms of their employment.
How can DSA Law help?