Employers have nothing to fear from employment contracts

By Peter Israel
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Employment contracts are becoming a more common means of clarifying many of the terms of the employment relationship. A written contract which is finalized prior to the start of the employment relationship allows the employer and the employee to negotiate terms at a time when they are most optimistic about their relationship and, therefore, more likely to be fair with one another.

The written contract will provide answers to questions that often plague employment relationships such as: What is the vacation entitlement? How much notice is required before termination? Can the employer alter the employee's sales territory? A proper employment contract will address issues like these and many others.

Although more and more employers are hiring with written employment contracts, some employers oppose using them. Their main fear seems to be that a written contract crystallizes the relationship, thereby reducing the employer's right to make changes. These are legitimate concerns that can be addressed in the contract itself. A written contract can, in most circumstances, provide greater flexibility to the employer.