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Australia: Contracts of employment

Original and updating authors: Shana Schreier-Joffe and Dean Tolkin

Consultant editor: Nicholas Furlan

Summary

  • All employees have a contract of employment, which may be written, oral, partly written and partly oral, or implied by a course of conduct, and contracts must generally comply with certain minimum requirements. (See General)
  • Probationary periods must be reasonable and agreed prior to commencement of employment. They are typically between three and six months. (See Probationary periods)
  • Employment contracts may be open ended, for a specified period of time, or for the completion of a specified task or project, and may be for full-time or part-time work. (See Types of contract)
  • There is no requirement that employment contracts must be in writing and there is no statutory obligation on employers to provide employees with a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment. (See Written contracts of employment)
  • Where the parties to an employment contract wish to vary its terms, they may do so if such variations are agreed. (See Variation of contract)
  • Restrictive covenants that seek to prevent an employee or ex-employee from taking advantage of the employer's confidential information, trade secrets, "know-how" and trade connections are subject to various legal rules. (See Restraint of trade clauses)