Are Employee Contracts Really Necessary?

Why Employee Contracts are Integral to the Success of Your Supermarket

If you’ve managed to put together a great team at your supermarket, you may begin to feel like your employees are almost family. Whether they’ve been with you from the beginning, or helped you grow your business, when it counts the most, the best team is one you count on to be with you every step of the way.

Sometimes, owners may trust their employees so implicitly that they begin to wonder: Are employee contracts really necessary? The answer to this question depends on who you ask.

Legally speaking, the answer is no! National Employment Standards in Australia do not require employers to establish a formal employee contract with their workers. However, we strongly advise against our members adopting this practice with their staff.

While you may never dream that your best workers would wrong you, move on without notice, or otherwise act inappropriately, it’s impossible to predict every possible scenario. This is why employee contracts are an important part of a safe and reliable hiring process, not only for you, but for your employees as well.

Manage Uncertainty

Nothing in life is guaranteed, and even the best made plans can change when you least expect it. This is why more than a simple verbal agreement should be made between you as an owner and each of your employees. Ensuring that a written contract has been established will give you peace of mind that both you and each of your team members are on the same page.

Employee contracts eliminate some of the up-in-the-air nature of informal agreements that would allow workers to legally leave without notice, or make significant scheduling changes that could impact the day to day function of your supermarket. Communication and clarity is essential to your business’s success, and employee contracts are a great way to achieve a level of certainty you can depend on.

Clarify Terms of Work
In addition to mitigating possible uncertainties, a well written employee contract provides transparency and understanding surrounding terms of work that likely would not be outlined without such a document. These terms may include but are not limited to:

  • Notice Periods
  • Confidentiality
  • Intellectual Property
  • Client Relationships/Restraint
  • Physical Property (i.e. computer, mobile, etc)
  • Remuneration and Salary Packages
  • Code of Conduct

A well-written employee contract will cover all of these subjects and allow you and your employee to settle on an agreement you are both happy with. Lacking this contract can result in situations where you may be unsatisfied with observed behaviors or practices but unable to change them due to a lack of written agreement.

Protects You and Your Team
Even above clarity and stability, what a proper employee contract can provide to your supermarket is protection.

Written agreements protect both you and your workers from issues that may arise due to lack of communication. Disputes over terms and conditions such as those listed above can result in situations that can compromise or threaten your business, and the relationship you maintain with your team. Employee contracts exist to guide and resolve disputes without negative consequences, and protect both your interests, and the interests of your workers.

While there is no single contract that is a perfect fit for all jobs and roles your supermarket may provide, putting in the work to draft comprehensive agreements that protect both you and your team is often critical to your business’s success.

IndiHub members are able to access a range of HR templates including Employment Contracts in our HR Templates section of the members area on our website. If you require help please contact Matt Ritson on 0404 335 559 or [email protected]

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