An employment contract is an agreement between you and the employer that sets the terms and conditions of your employment and work. It may be valid until further notice or for a limited period. In addition to the employment contract, the terms and conditions of your employment are influenced by the collective agreement applied in your sector, legislation, workplace practices, employer’s instructions and regulations.
The employment contract can be made in writing or orally. However, you should make it in writing. Although an oral agreement is equally valid, it is usually difficult to remember its content or prove what was agreed on after some years. The contract can also be made by email. Even if the contract is concluded orally, the employer must provide the employee with a written explanation of the main terms and conditions of the employment relationship if the employment relationship lasts longer than one month. Before signing an employment contract, you should contact a shop steward if there is one at your workplace.
The employment contract determines how much you are paid, where you work and when your work begins and ends. It should also tell you what your main tasks are. If you do not have an employment contract, these matters are not agreed upon between you and your employer. Typically, your employment contract also mentions the collective agreement applicable to the work that defines the terms and conditions of your employment in more detail than legislation.
A collective agreement is an agreement between a trade union and an employer. It lays down minimum conditions of employment such as pay, working hours, holidays, and other benefits. You personally sign an employment contract with your employer.
The employment contract must determine all the key issues. These include at least the following:
- The employer’s and employee’s name, personal identification number, and place of residence or business
- Start date of employment
- Applicable collective agreement
- Main work tasks
- Place where the work is carried out
- Duration of the employment contract
- Notice period
- Probationary period
- Working hours
- Pay and pay period
- Annual leave
As an employee you have the right to:
- pay and other minimum conditions in accordance with the collective agreement.
- protection under legislation and agreements.
- a healthy and safe working environment.
- organise and be a member of a trade union.
As an employee, you have an obligation to:
- perform your work carefully.
- comply with agreed working hours.
- follow the instructions of the work management.
- refuse to engage in activities in competition with the employer.
- keep business and professional secrets.
- keep the employer’s interests in mind.
Check at least which collective agreement applies to your work since it determines the minimum conditions of your employment. In addition, check how your pay is calculated and what your working hours and job description are. Avoid a zero-hour agreement if possible.
When an employer and employee agree on work, an employment relationship is created. Minimum terms and conditions of employment are based on laws and collective agreements. Both sides, the employer and the employee, also have rights and obligations during and after the employment relationship.