Obviously, you can simply download a standard employment contract from the internet. However, it is unlikely to be entirely compatible with the practical needs of your company. An employment contract for a secretary, for example, will often contain completely different terms and conditions compared to a management-level employee. It is also important to know that certain provisions have to meet legal requirements in order to be valid. A non-compete clause, for example, can only be valid if this is agreed in writing between the employer and the employee. Moreover, for an employment contract for a limited period, a non-compete clause may only be included if there is an underlying reasoning.
In case of an employment contract for a limited period of less than two years, the probationary period may only last one month, unless the relevant collective labour agreement allows for an exception from this legal provision. A probationary period is not allowed at all if the employment contract does not exceed six months! It is therefore very important to have a good employment contract in place.
Van Hall Advocaten Arbeidsrecht has extensive experience in drawing up employment contracts tailored to your specific needs. We ensure, for example, that the content is compatible with any collective labour agreement that applies to your company. If you have an employee handbook in your organisation, we also make sure that employment contracts do not contain any provisions already included in it.
Terms and conditions of employment/employee regulations
Every organisation has its own ‘house rules’, sometimes ensuing in part from the collective labour agreement. It is important to clearly communicate the existing rules to your employees. Clear policies prevent endless discussions during any disputes. Examples that come to mind are how and to whom employees should report ill, the regulations governing absenteeism, how leave should be applied for and how much notice should be given when doing so, the rules relating to the usage of internet, etc. You may also decide to incorporate into your employee regulations certain terms and conditions that do not have to be included in contracts of employment by law. This will make your employment contracts shorter and easier to read, without compromising your position or that of your employees. Usually, these types of rules can be changed easily (and unilaterally) by an employer.
Nowadays, many organisations grant their employees the usage of a company car. This represents considerable value and its usage entails all kinds of responsibilities and obligations. Hence, it is important relevant, clear agreements are set down. For example, is the employee only allowed to use the car for business, or also for private purposes? How about abroad? Is all fuel included? As long as these topics are well-documented, they shouldn’t cause any misconceptions at a later stage.
Sometimes, it is necessary or simply practical to use the services of someone without employing them on a permanent basis. An option in such cases is to enter into a project-based agreement. A project-based contract is emphatically not an employment contract – its content is truly different. For example, the person carrying out the project is responsible for paying his own taxes and social security premiums, as he is not an actual employee but a contractor. Because the difference between an employment contract and a project-based contract is sometimes minimal in practice, it is important to include clear agreements in the contract. Nonetheless, the risks involved are not so much in how the relationship between these two parties is described, but more specifically on how it works in practice. Even if the relationship is described as that of a project-based contract, if all the features of a regular employment position are present, it is not inconceivable a sub-district court may rule the relationship effectively amounts to an employment contract. As of May 1st 2016 the declaration of employment relationship (“VAR”, an Independent Contractor Status Statement) was abolished. Instead model agreements are used. We would gladly inform you on this.
A frequent reason for an organisation to engage the services of volunteers, is that it does not have the financial resources to employ people on a paid basis. Hence, it is important the status of the volunteer is clear, what their activities involve and whether, and if so how, they are financially recompensed.