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Have you included these three clauses in your employment contracts?

by , 19 December 2013
There are three essential clauses you need to include in your employment contracts. Read on to find out what they are so you can safeguard your rights when writing up a contract of employment.

You're required by law to provide your employee with a written contract of employment.

What's equally important is that you include certain clauses in your contract of employment.

Why is this important?

These clauses safeguard your rights. And they'll ensure that if you end up at the CCMA for employee contractual issues- you've got a better chance of winning.

If you don't already have these three clauses in your contracts, put them in now.

Three clauses to include in your employment contracts

#1: Formalise the contract in writing

This'll make the contract of employment binding on the employee. Formalising the contract prevents arguments about anything discussed in the job interview.

Your employee may mistakenly believe he's entitled to certain conditions discussed, for example, he claims after a month that the remuneration amount discussed in the job interview is more than the contract amount he's receiving. Or he understood the company would pay him an additional car allowance or provide him with a company lap-top.

Contract of employment sample clause: 'This employment contract becomes legally binding on ________ (a date of your choice), irrespective of when it is signed by ________ (company name) or __________ (the employee). The terms set out in this document form the entire contract between the parties and may not be varied unless by express agreement in writing and signed by both parties.

#2: Confidentiality

'During tough economic times when there's a great deal of competition in the market, you need to protect any trade secrets, client lists, innovations and other material,' says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

You must try to keep this confidential and not let it become public knowledge, especially if that information gives you an edge in the race for market share.

Contract of employment sample clause: 'Except in the proper performance of his duties, the employee will not, either during his employment or at any time afterwards, either himself utilise and/or directly or indirectly disclose to any third party, any information of a confidential nature concerning the business of ____________ (company's name) or persons having dealings with ____________ (company's name) or any associated company, that was obtained directly or indirectly during the course of or in connection with his employment or holding any office with ____________ (company's name) or any associated companies.
This restriction applies after the termination of this Contract of Employment, but will not apply to information that has become public, unless through an unauthorised disclosure by the employee.'

#3: Stipulate the hours and place of work

The Loose Leaf Service says you must include a clause to determine what your employee's hours of work will be. Also include the length of his lunch break.

Remember that this can't be less than 30 minutes.

State the place of work, and include in the clause that you've got the right to move or transfer your employee to a different factory, branch or region or even to work outside the country.  This can be for operational or other reasons, if the nature of your business requires it.

You must still agree on the specifics of a transfer, when the time arises. But the employee has already agreed to this flexibility in the employment contract.

You can take disciplinary action against him for breach of contract if he unreasonably refuses to be transferred to another place of work.

Contract of employment sample clause: 'Normal office hours are from ____________e.g. 07h30 to 16h00, Monday to Friday), with a ____________ (thirty-(30)-minute) lunch break. The employee will, however, be required to work such hours and days in accordance with the operational needs and requirements of ____________ (company's name) at any particular time and commensurate with the employee's position in the organisation. Employees earning above the statutory minimum are not subject to the BCEA provisions with respect to overtime hours or payment. The employee's ordinary place of work shall be ____________ (e.g. company's Head Office) located at ____________ (physical address of place of business). ____________ (Company's name) may, however, require the employee to work at such places within the Republic whether on a temporary or permanent basis as ___________ (company's name) may from time to time require, and may require the employee to travel nationally and internationally in meeting ____________ (company's name) operational needs.'

Keep in mind that not all the clauses will be applicable to all your employees. Use the ones that apply to you.

Knowing what clauses to include will help ensure you have watertight employment contracts.

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