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Risks of an Employment Contract with Standard Conditions

An employment contract with standard conditions that would be suitable for all working relationships does not exist. For each employment relationship it is important for the employer to determine conditions related to the specific position and the employee to carefully consider expectations to the employer (read more in Pre-Contractual Negotiations). But this does not mean that the employer could not prepare similar contract points for employees working on similar tasks. In several companies employing many employees with similar tasks this could even prove to be the preferred behaviour as it guarantees a more equal treatment of employees.

Employee and employer can discuss each employment contract clause, even when the clause is presented as a so-called standard one. The employment relationship of each individual is unique and according to the freedom of contract principle, not all employees must work on the same conditions – for some, it is important to work in the evenings, others wish to work remotely from home, etc. Employer’s plea that one contract applies to all employees is not appropriate – employment relationship is individual and must consider the needs of parties.

Using a standard employment contract that has not been adapted to the needs of the organization could cause damage. For example, a contract template is downloaded for new employee online, used without thinking nor making any greater changes; or, the same contract is concluded with people performing very different tasks in the company. This way, the contract could end up containing clauses not reasoned for the employee and could become harmful also from the employer’s perspective.

For instance, the competition prohibition clause could be reasoned for a top specialist, but not for a personnel manager or a security guard; leaving in the monetary liability clause means that the employer is obliged to pay additional pay to the employee.

It is also important for the employer to consider that clauses damaging the employee are invalid and could bring along disputes. For instance, if the employment contract contains a clause that, for some reason, has not been discussed with the other contractual party or in which the other party’s opinion has not been taken into consideration and which poses unreasonable obligations or limitations to the employee, then this could not have the legal power.

If the employee finds invalid clauses from the contract, the employer should be notified and the clauses removed on mutual agreement. The employer should have similar interest as unreasonable clauses do not provide the desired protection.

In conclusion, the employer could download an employment contract online, but it must be carefully worked through and discussed together with the employee. The employer is obliged to explain the contract conditions and it is in the employee’s interests to ask questions and make their own proposals.

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