Sample work contracts are employment agreements that are legally binding and are written between employees and their employer.

Why a Work Contract is Used

For executive level employees, project specific employees, short term employees or freelance employees, a work contract can make the process clear to both the employee and their employer. The contract is a signed (executed) agreement between the two parties and is enforceable by law. This document outlines the obligations, responsibilities and rights of all parties to the contract during the period of work. Also outlined in a work contract:

  • Pay schedule and amount
  • Vacation time (if any)
  • Job duties
  • Probationary period
  • Confidentiality duties
  • Procedures and causes for termination

These aspects are important to both parties and therefore should be included in any work contract. The best contract addresses all possible outcomes so that all parties are clear about what will happen.

Type of Employment

Employee are not all created equal. In addition, projects, jobs, and short-term spikes in production all call for different forms of employment. How you employ someone can fit with any business need.

Some employees are:

1. Permanent Full-Time (FT). Many people who take jobs are hired as full-time employees. They generally work between 32 and 40 hours and work the same number of hours each week and have no designated end date.

2. Permanent Part Time (PT). Similar to the full-time, these employees work fewer than 32 hours (check with current guidelines for legal part time employment) and have no designated end date.

3. Temporary Employee (Temp). Employees (sometimes through an agency) who are doing a short-term project, or are covering for an absence of a regular employee with a designated end date.

4. Contract Employee (Contractor). Works in much the same way as a temporary employee except that their contract tends to be more robust and the project may have deliverables that determine the end of the contract.

Clauses to Include in a Contract for Work

Protecting an employer from the loss of money, employees, trade secrets and business are all reasons to include specific clauses in any work contract.

1. Non-solicitation

2. Non-compete

3. Confidentiality

4. Non-disclosure

These clauses are designed to protect your organization from any ill effects of employing the contracted employee. Having them sign off on these clauses will help keep them from costing you business, employees and profits from trade secrets.

The Work Contract Must-haves

1. Terms of Employment – designating the work relationship between the employer and the employee as “at-will” means that the employer and employee can part ways for any reason with no repercussions (unless some form of discrimination or wrongful termination is alleged).

2. Job Duties and Responsibilities - essentially this defines the job description and clarifies all of the expectations of the employee at the organization.

3. Comp – generally this is total compensation for the position.

  • Annual salary or hourly rate, and the way it will be paid (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly)
  • Benefits like health, life, dental and vision insurance. 401(k) plan and match (if any)
  • Paid time off - vacation, sick days, holidays and personal days. Some companies lump them all together but some spell out each and how more are accrued or earned.
  • Bonus potential and how it will be determined (company performance, personal performance)
  • Stock Options may be part of this section
  • Long Term Investments are also included in many contracts as a retention tool
  • Any other compensation like a company car or apartment
  • This section also includes any reimbursement for equipment (cell phone, laptop, wifi, mileage etc…)

4. Special Clauses – any that your company requires, as mentioned above. This can include non-disclosures, confidentiality, non-compete or trade secret requirements.

5. Resolution of Dispute- this portion lays out the way that the company and the employee will resolve any litigation that may arise out of the employment relationship. This should include the state law which will apply to any dispute.

6. Signatures – all parties to the contract should sign the contract in order for the contract to be legally binding.

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