Time has come when employers must be obliged to provide each of their employees with employment contract which sets out certain terms and conditions that govern the employment relationship. This will create awareness of the terms of employment and job security. Hence, anyone who works for an employer in Bangladesh for a regular wage or salary automatically needs to be provided with a contract of employment.
Contract of Employment: An employment contract is a contract used in labour law to attribute rights and responsibilities between parties to a bargain. It is a legally binding agreement between two parties (employer and employee), designed to give both parties security, protection and to avoid chaos.Benefits: One of the main advantages of using an employment agreement is that it allows for a level of specificity regarding the details of the employment.
For the employee a contract gives them the security that they are working for a professional business that has clearly defined its obligations and agreement on all terms of employment.
For the employer they have the security that the employee is fully aware of their obligations and has agreed to comply with the stated terms. The contract may also endeavour to protect the business clientele and intellectual property.
Another advantage is that the agreement can be referred to in the future if a dispute arises over a particular aspect of the employment. The written document can be used as evidence if necessary.
Finally, employment agreements are important for fostering a positive relationship between the employer and the employee. Employers usually feel that an employment agreement creates an enhanced degree of organisational standard and structure in the work relationship. For employees, an employment agreement can provide a sense of stability and security, especially if the agreement lists the time frame for the period of employment.
Essential contents: Some of the most important terms/clauses that should be included in the contract of employment are the following:► the names of the employer and employee
► the date on which the employment began including any period of continuous employment with a previous employer
► details of the scale/rate of remuneration and intervals of pay
► terms and conditions relating to hours of work including normal hours of work and contractual overtime
► details of annual leave, including public holidays and holiday pay (and sufficient information to allow precise calculation of entitlement)
► terms and conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, including provisions relating to sick pay
► rules relating to pension schemes
► the employee’s job title and/or a brief description of the work that employee will be doing
► place of work or an indication that the employee may work at various places and if that is the case provide a list of those places (where known) including the employer’s address
► the length of notice required by each party
► where the employment is not intended to be permanent, the period for which it is expected to continue, or if a fixed-term contract, its expiry date
► any collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of employment, including, where the employee is not a party, the persons by whom they were made
► certain details where the employee is required to work outside
► dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures
► the name of the person to whom the employee can apply if dissatisfied with any disciplinary decision or wishes to raise any grievance relating to employee’s employment
► Specific provisions in contracts of employment (disable facilities)
► any other term which in view of its importance is an essential part of the contract
Reason for no practice: Lack of awareness - even do not know what it is, carelessness - no caring responsibility, no HR/ labour law practice or policy, no employee or employer demand.
Implementation: Demand, proposal and campaigning for job contract, company willingness, government and NGO stress on it and involvement, ILO rules and compliance.
Stay Out of the Court: Any attempt by the employer to unduly restrict someone’s right to work will be deemed unfair and dismissed in a legal courtroom challenge.
Put it in Writing: As a matter of principle a contract of employment should always be in writing. Oral agreements are difficult to prove in cases of doubt or if contested, written contracts create clarity and evidence for both parties.
Talk about it together: Usually the contract of employment need to be explained to the employee by employer, NGO, other authority and government facilitation.
If the employer fails to provide an employee with a written statement or inform an employee of a change, and the employment appeal tribunal finds that employer unfairly dismissed or discriminated against that employee then they may grant compensation to that employee in addition to any other sum to which that employee is entitled to receive as compensation. Having legally binding employment contract avoids misunderstanding and gives both parties absolute clarity about their rights and responsibilities. Do not let the formality of job contract be a headache, seek professional advice and value the peace of mind when everything is in place.
Taslim Ahammad, Assistant Professor, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University,