Employment contracts can be written or verbal.
Sometimes employment contracts will be called something else like 'agreement', 'terms and conditions of employment' or 'workplace agreement'.
Having a contract means you are classified as an employee (casual, part-time or full-time), as opposed to a contractor, and therefore have certain rights available to you.
Employment contracts often contain details such as:
- How much you will be paid
- Your title (e.g. Shop Assistant)
- Work duties
- Hours of work
- Rules of your workplace
As well as an employee contract you might also be covered by a separate:
- Individual Transitional Employment Agreement (ITEA) made prior to 31 December 2009
- Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) made prior to 27 March 2006
For more information about Awards, check out Fair Work Ombudsman's Modern Awards page (new window). For more work about Agreements, including ITEAs and AWAs, check out Fair Work Ombudsman's Agreements page (new window).
Basic contract advice
Here is some basic contract advice:
- Always get a copy of a contract you have signed
- Never sign anything you haven't read or don't understand
- Do not agree to any changes without getting independent advice
It's important to remember that your contract can't offer you anything less than what is contained in the Fair Work National Employment Standards (new window) and modern awards.
If you think you are being offered less than what you're entitled to, you can contact the following organisations:
- Job Watch (new window) - A statewide community legal centre specialising in issues for workers in Victoria, and offering free and confidential advice
- The Fair Work Ombudsman (new window) - giving advice about Australia’s national workplace relations system and helping people understand their workplace rights and responsibilities
- Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (new window) - offering a free telephone advice service and handling complaints
- Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) (new window) - a national organisation representing the Australian workforce