When you start a new job in The Bahamas or when you hire a new employee for your business, it is recommended that you have a written employment contract. Written employment contracts protect employees and employers by setting forth the terms that both must follow during the employment relationship.
In The Bahamas, there is usually no requirement that employees and employer sign employment contracts. However, you need to discuss and agree on a few basic employment issues under the law. Putting all of these terms in writing makes it much easier for everyone to remember and follow them. The terms include:
- Employer's name
- Place of employment
- Employee's name
- Nature of the employment (such as job title or duties)
- If the employment term is fixed, how long it is
- Notice periods for terminating the employment contract
- Salary and other benefits
- Vacation entitlement
- Manner and period for paying of wages and other benefits
- Hours of work per day, and when work starts and ends.
(Employment Act, Section 5.) Having all of this information written down can resolve many disputes between employee and employer. A written employment contract identifies who is agreeing to perform what duties and for whom. It clarifies when the employee must perform the work and how much the employee is to be paid. It also determines the rights of the employer and the employee if the contract is to be terminated.
Certain terms can be implied into employment contracts, meaning the terms could be enforced even if the words of the contract do not specifically include them. For example, the most important part of employment is the relationship of trust and confidence between an employer and an employee. Employers can summarily dismiss employees for breaking that trust or destroying that confidence. (Employment Act, Sections 31-32.) Employers also can choose to include specific information about grounds for dismissal in the contract.
Employment contracts provide a written record for the Industrial Tribunal or other body to decide employment disputes and the amount of compensation which may be due to an employee. If you have an employment dispute (whether or not you have a written contract), consult a lawyer today for assistance.
To find out more about employment contracts, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambersonline or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.