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Regarding the regulation of employment contracts, what should employees pay attention to before signing an employment contract?

Before confirming the employment relationship, the employer and the employee usually sign an employment contract to protect the rights and interests of both parties. Under the Employment Ordinance, what are the established norms for employment contracts, can they be signed orally? Employees want to know the labor benefits of the job, let alone the details of the employment contract. This article will list the matters that should be paid attention to before signing the employment contract so that employees can work with peace of mind.

What should an employment contract contain?

According to the Employment Ordinance, a proper employment contract should contain the following items, and it is the employer’s responsibility to state the following employment conditions in detail before the employee takes office:

• rate of pay, rate of pay for overtime work and any allowances (whether calculated by piece, work, hour, day, week or otherwise);

• pay period;

• the notice period required to terminate the contract;

• If the employee is entitled to year-end payment, information on the year-end payment, part of the year-end payment and payment period.

The above important clauses can be extended to more details of working hours, such as arrangements for shift work, meal breaks, etc.; details of wages such as commission sharing system, quota system, other allowances, etc.

Written contract or oral contract which is better?

The Employment Ordinance recognizes employment contracts entered into in writing or orally (both of which have the force of Hong Kong law), which may contain express or implied terms, and employees can enjoy the protections of the Employment Ordinance. The Labour Department recommends that the principles of reasonableness and fairness should be adopted when entering into employment contract terms, such as providing reasonable remuneration and benefits and a notice period for termination of the contract.

In order to avoid unnecessary labor disputes and protect the rights and interests of both parties, the Hong Kong Labour Department recommends that employers and employees should enter into written employment contracts as far as possible. Please refer to the following website for a sample of employee contracts. Signing a written employment contract may have the following benefits:

• Can clearly articulate the responsibilities of employers and employees;

• clarify disputes related to working conditions;

• For reference when conducting arbitrations.

A copy of the employment contract?

For employment contracts entered into in writing, the employer must provide the employee with a copy of the contract for reference and preservation; if the employment contract is entered into in a form other than in writing, the employee may request the employer in writing to send a notice containing the conditions of employment before the employment relationship begins. to the employee.

Employers who violate the above requirements are liable to prosecution and, upon conviction, to a fine of HK$10,000.

Items to be aware of before signing a contract

It is the employee’s responsibility to confirm the details of the employment contract, including the following common important terms:

•        Termination of contract

It usually lists the circumstances surrounding the termination of employment contracts, specifying the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, with particular attention to the provisions on severance payment and long service payment.

• Resignation Clause

In individual cases, it is necessary to pay attention to the terms of resignation such as notice period, relevant compensation payments, etc.

• Salary details

Employees should understand the method of calculating wages, form of pay, pay days, etc. If there are bonuses or commissions, details should also be listed, and they should pay attention to the actions that employers can take in case of arrears of wages.

• MPF

Since employers and employees are required to join the MPF scheme, employees can check whether the relevant provisions meet the legal requirements.

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