Typical Contents of a Contract of Employment

An employment contract stands as an agreement between an employee and an employer. Both parties should agree to all terms within the contract as it serves as legal protection should either party breach the terms of the contract. Employment contracts vary from company to company. There will also be differences between contracts for permanent employment versus freelance or contractual employment. For the most part, however, employment contracts will usually contain some of the same standard information.

Include Names

It goes without saying that the names of both the employer and the employee should be included in the employment contract. Both names will usually be printed at the beginning of a standard contract in terminology that indicates the agreement is between the two parties.

Time frame

The date in which the employee is expected to begin work also marks the date from which the contract becomes official. For permanent employees, you will obviously not include a date of termination. For contracts between freelance or contractual employees, which are usually referred to as Service Contracts, you should include the date that the project or assignment is expected to be completed. This date should be agreed upon before the contract is presented.

Job Description

It is important to include a thorough description of what is expected of the employee in his new position. Detail daily tasks and additional projects for which they will be responsible. Describe the working environment as well as the tools that the employer will provide. Employer expectations pertaining to job performance should also be included.

Compensation and Benefits

Most employment contracts will include the compensation that the employee has agreed to. Aside from mentioning the starting salary, the contract should also list bonus opportunities, as well as stock and 401k options and when they will be eligible to receive these compensation benefits. Include paid holidays, vacation time and any other applicable benefits, although you may indicate that further details regarding health and life insurance options are available in an employee handbook.


Most companies include some type of confidentiality agreement in an employment contract. This offers legal protection against disgruntled employees who may want to air the company's trade secrets as some kind of revenge.

Conditions of Employment

Any employment contract should also outline the conditions of employment, or, in other words, how you can get fired. It is necessary to also mention the requirements for voluntary termination, such as providing two weeks notice and a written letter of resignation. This is also a good place to indicate that breach of any conditions outlined in the employment contract may be cause for termination.

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About the Author

Based in South Florida, Leann Harms has been writing since 2008. Her design, technology, business and entertainment articles have appeared in "Design Trade" magazine and Web sites including eHow. Harms has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Florida Atlantic University.

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