An employee agreement, or as it is better known, an employee contract, is a simple legal document drawn up by an employer for an employee to sign. It outlines everything from the terms of the work environment, the length of the employment, the financial terms of the agreement and is usually contains a clause or two about privacy or confidentiality. Many people don’t realize that they sign an employee agreement when they start their job, but it is almost always part of the initial job application or part of a form you sign once you’ve been hired. Corporations use standard employee agreements for low wage earning employees but may need to create individual agreements for high ranking officials who have unique job descriptions and access to company secrets. The longest employee agreements are usually for unique positions that garner huge wages, such as a professional athlete or a president of a major corporation.
The point of an employee agreement is to protect the hiring company in case the employee attempts to seek some kind of legal assistance during or after their time of employment. An employee agreement will almost always outline the terms under which the employee can be fired or terminated and what the obligations are by both parties should that happen. It is often this part of the employee agreement that is debated in court cases for wrongful termination or if someone feels they weren’t given the severance package they were promised in their contract.
Sometimes, even extensive employment agreement contracts are made from templates, but it is uncommon. Sports leagues have set employment agreements in place for “rookie” players that can’t be changed under the collective bargaining agreement in place in that particular sport.
Other essential parts of an employee agreement include a complete outline of the benefits offered, if any, by the employer, how long they last for, and all the essential details regarding how they work. There is often a clause about reimbursement of expenses during the length of employment. Again, this wouldn’t apply as much to low level employees, but would to high ranking officials that require a travel allowance. There can even be a miscellaneous section at the end of the agreement that goes over any and all provisions that couldn’t be fit into the contract anywhere else. They can include an outline of local, state or federal laws that pertain to the employment contract and termination by the employee details.
Overall, the average employee agreement only covers two to three pages, maximum. Even template based corporate employment agreements that masquerade as employment applications seldom run over two pages, although the fine print is particularly fine. A more complex employment agreement can run dozens or even hundreds of pages if the work is sensitive enough and the employer feels that they need to spell out every minute detail to protect their interests.
While you may not even realize it, almost everyone working today is working under an employment agreement of some kind.