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An Employment Agreement (sometimes called a Work Agreement) is the document by which employers and their employees (or contractors or freelancers) can define their rights and obligations at the start of the employment relationship. Often times, employment relationships begin with an offer letter that defines certain terms and conditions of the work structure. An Employment Agreement, however, is a more robust and detailed document that allows the employer to go in depth about what is expected of the employee, and allows the employee to understand how things like pay raises and vacation time will be handled. For this reason, Employment Agreements allow both employers and employees to be protected in case there is a disagreement later on about something that may have been unclear between the parties.
Although an Employment Agreement can be as basic or as specific as required by the parties, normally an Employment Agreement will contain information such as the names and addresses of the parties, as well as things like the details and responsibilities of the employee's work. Creating an Employment Agreement before bringing onboard an employee that will be a meaningful part of the team is a good idea, so that everyone can be clear about what the expectations are upfront.
How to use this document
Either an employee or employer can use this document when they've decided to begin a new employment relationship, no matter what the structure of that relationship will be. In this document, the form filler will define the important components of the new employment relationship. Either party can fill out the details and this agreement will cover more than just the traditional full-time, permanent employment relationship. This Employment Agreement will help outline the expectations of both parties before the work actually begins.
In this Employment Agreement, the employer will also be able to set a term for the employment relationship. In other words, the employer can decide if the agreement should go on indefinitely or whether it should end at a certain time. This Employment Agreement will also protect the employer for specific situations after the termination of the relationship, such as in case the employee received trade secrets or confidential information while working for the employer.
When this document is complete, the employer should have their employees sign it. Then a copy can be given to the employee and a copy kept with the employer.
Employment and employment agreements in the United States are subject to both Federal laws and specific state laws. For example, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) covers wages and overtime pay for certain sectors. State laws, however, may define and restrict how employers can protect themselves if an employee tries to take their clients or use confidential information.
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