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Guide to a Written Employment Contract

Considerations for Animal Health Technologists/ Veterinary Technicians 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________________________


An Employment Contract sets out the terms and conditions of the relationship between an employer and an employee (AHT/VT). It documents the obligations they have to each other, the benefits they will receive from each other and defines workplace expectations for both. Employment Contracts should define the process for termination of the employer/employee relationship in the future. Ideally, Employment Contracts are reviewed on a regular basis and are tailored to suit individual veterinary practices or veterinary related businesses.

Background Elements of an Employment Contract:
1. Language: Employment Contracts must be designed so as to be clear, understandable and capable of certain application. They should include “promises” and/or verbal representations that the employer made during the hiring period and/or hiring interview. Many written Employment Contracts presented by employers look after their interests; but who is looking after yours? If you have some leverage, recognize it, understand it, and utilize it to negotiate! Do not settle for the “standard form” version of an Employment Contract. 2. Employee Performance: Employment Contracts should outline the employer’s work performance expectations for the employee. The Employment Contract can be the basis that an employer uses for performance management and to terminate a Veterinary Technician should her work performance not meet the employer’s expectations. The employer’s promise to promote, to increase salary, to provide bonus plans, fringe benefits, and/or car allowances must be in writing or the Veterinary Technician can forget about receiving them. 3. Terms: Employment Contracts are very comprehensive. Each Animal Health Technologist /Veterinary Technician who is currently employed, has an Employment Contract--even if it is not in writing. The terms of an employment contract come from many sources, including: • written communication between employee and employer • oral representations made by the employer • Common Law--contract terms, implied to be included, by the Courts • employer policies, bonuses, vacation, annual reviews, performance problems • Collective Agreements • Veterinary Industry Standards • Workplace Legislation-- • Provincial Veterinary Acts Human Rights; OH&S; Employment Standards 4. Minimum Standards: Written Employment Contracts must be consistent with the minimum standards contained in the applicable Province’s Employment Standards legislation. When Employment Contract do not specifically mention the items below, the Courts treat the


Consider the following: • If the Employment Contract is entered into after the Veterinary Technician starts working. 2. 6. as courts may hold that the employer’s promise to continue to employ an employee already on the job is not legally valid consideration. There are minimum standards on the following topics: • • • • • • • • Minimum Wage Minimum Daily Pay Meal and Rest Breaks Payment of Earnings (paydays) Hours of Work Overtime Statutory Holidays Annual Vacation • • • • • • • • Leaves from Work Termination Weekly Days of Rest Deductions Employee File Management Probationary Periods Parental Leave Definition of “employee” 5. The Courts require that Employment Contract termination notice be reasonable. Non-Competition clauses) are designed to limit the right of a formerly employed Veterinary Technician to compete with the employer. Other Factors to Consider: 1. this may arouse her suspicions and justify a claim of constructive dismissal. A sample Letter of Offer is attached. there are Provincial statutory minimum standards on this topic. • If a currently employed Veterinary Technician is asked to enter into a formal written Employment Contract. Restrictive Covenants (or. something of value promised by each party to the agreement. Geographic scope and duration of the restrictive covenant following the Employment Contract termination must also be reasonable. The Letter of Offer should be brief in its summary of the employment position and it must indicate the need for the selected employee to sign an Employment Contract. Termination of Employment Contract: Employment Contracts should be forward thinking and define the process for termination of the employer/employee relationship. it must involve consideration. Therefore. Both the employer and the Veterinary Technician have vested interests in ensuring their rights and 2 .Employment Contract as though it includes the minimum standard on the important aspects of employment. it may not be enforceable. They may include a definition of “Termination of Contract Notice” and “Restrictive Covenants”. Letter of Offer of Employment: It is standard practice for employers to provide a written Letter of Offer to the Veterinary Technician selected during the hiring process. The rights of the employer to protect his business interests from harm must be balanced such that the former Veterinary Technician can still to earn a living in her career. A separate meeting time must be arranged for this event. solicit its employees or clients. An effective Employment Contract allows you to plan for an orderly and fair break up. Considerations: For an Employment Contract to be valid. Seek Legal Advice: Employment Contracts are legally binding only when prepared appropriately. that is. it is best to choose a time when the employer is providing additional consideration--like a promotion or a substantial compensation increase. consideration is the employer’s promise to hire and the Veterinary Technician’s promise to perform service. or disclose confidential business information. In an Employment Contract.

The full legal names of both contracted parties: the Employer and the Veterinary Technician. get legal advice. • hourly rate/salary • payment details--weekly/monthly/biweekly • direct deposit options 6. Employment Contract Details: 1. • there will be additional forms for you to sign from the Underwriter of the Pension Plan • deductions from your pay must be authorized by you--another form to sign. Holiday Entitlement. Sickness Entitlement. Grievance Arrangements. 10. Job Title and Job Description. 4. • Line of Authority--who is your direct Supervisor • Communication channels. 3 .obligations are properly characterized in an Employment Contract. Remuneration Details. Hours of • • • Work. 11. 9. Starting Date of the Job. you do not have to sign an Employment Contract the moment a job offer is presented to you--good employers will allow you the time required to consult with your legal advisor. 5. If you have never before prepared or signed an Employment Contract. Mailing Address of the Employer and/or Workplace and the Veterinary Technician. 3. 8. requirement per week/month/shift starting time/quitting time/break time a “fixed term” agreement should include terms for renewing it 7. process Disciplinary Procedures. Pension Plan details. From the Veterinary Technician’s perspective. 2.

4 .12. The “Employer” desires to employ the “Employee” and the “Employee” has agreed to accept and enter such employment upon the terms and conditions set out in this agreement. • Notice Period • Restrictive Covenants Signatures of both the employer and Veterinary Technician. The “Employer” is duly incorporated. BETWEEN: Full Name and Mailing Address of the “Employer” -------AND-----Full Name and Mailing Address of the “Veterinary Technician” Hereafter. Date the Employment Contract was signed by both parties. The “Employer” is of the opinion that the “Employee” has the necessary qualifications. Termination of Employment Contract. organized and existing under the laws of (name of Province). referred to as the “employee” BACKGROUND: A. experience and abilities to assist and benefit the “Employer” in its business. SAMPLE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT Employer Letterhead This Employment Contract dated this___(day) of__(month)__ 2005. B. C. 13. 14.

2005) • without an end date. Retirement: The “Employer” will make a contribution on behalf of the “employee” to (Name of a Registered Retirement Savings Plan) equal to ____% of the “Employee’s” annual salary. (or suitable “probation” period) The annual salary will be increased by _______% effective on (date). the receipt. OR The (Position Title) will receive payment equal to ____% of salary in lieu of benefits. Other Benefits: The annual (Name of Provincial AHT/VT Association) membership fees will be paid by the “Employer” on behalf of the “Employee”. OR The cost of Group Insurance will be shared: 50% will be paid by the “Employer” and 50% will be deducted from the “Employee’s” pay. The “Employer” agrees to provide $ ____ per annum to facilitate Continuing Education as required to maintain membership Status in the (Name of Provincial 5 .IN CONSIDERATION OF the matters described above and of the mutual benefits and obligations set forth in this agreement. Salary increases will be negotiated to take effect at the beginning of each renewal period (or. Position Title: (Veterinary Technologist I) Duties and Responsibilities: • these should be described in a detailed and attached position description document • the position description document should be referred to as “Part of this Agreement” Reporting Lines: The (Position Title) reports to (Title of direct Supervisor) Compensation: Salary: The annual salary of the (Position Title) is $_________ for the first year. Group Benefits: the “Employers” Group Benefits must be succinctly described including when the “Employee” will be eligible The (Position Title) is eligible for coverage under the organization’s Group Insurance Plan (refer to actual name of Insurer and/or Policy). the agreement will remain in effect until it is cancelled by one of the parties. and sufficiency of which consideration is hereby acknowledged. specify a date). The cost of Group Insurance will be paid by the “Employer” with the exception of the cost of the premium for Long Term Disability Insurance. the parties of this Agreement agree as follows: Employment start date: (July 4. which will be deducted from the “Employee’s” pay.

The “Employee” will be compensated for work time that exceeds standard hours at a rate of 1. manager or committee acting on behalf of the “Employer”) at the beginning of the period subject to review. Lunch breaks are not paid. Settlement of Disagreements: Describe the process or procedure that will be used to settle disagreements that will be used to settle disagreements between the employer and the employee when they cannot resolve the disagreement themselves. OR The standard hours of work for the “Employee” are ______ hours per week. then mention it here.5 times their regular hourly rate provided that overtime work is approved in advance by (Title of position with the authority to authorize overtime). Vacation Leave: the following: The “Employee” is entitled to vacation leave with pay in accordance with Years of Service Completed Annual Leave 1-3 years 3 weeks 4-6 years 4 weeks 7+ years 5 weeks • clarify vacation entitlements for the first year--can vacation be taken as it accumulates or must it be taken following the year of service. Salary will be paid for ____ days per annum for Continuing Education purposes. OR The “employee” will be paid as follows: Monthly direct deposit of salary (or other applicable pay period). overtime and compensatory time apply to this position. Document any other Benefits provided by the “Employer” for the “Employee” here. This could be an attachment. • Refer to the Position Description document. Work Schedule: The “Employer’s” policies on standard hours. Annual Performance Review: The work performance of the (Position Title) will be reviewed annually by (Title of supervisor or manager with this responsibility) based on the criteria agreed by the (Position Title) and (supervisor. • refer to any Collective Agreements articles that apply.AHT/VT Association). The “Employee’s” usual hours of work will be: ___ AM to ___ PM. like Sabbatical or leave for personal reasons. Pay Schedule: The “Employee” will be paid according to the “Employer” established Pay schedule. Life Insurance policies and premiums offered to the “Employee” should be discussed here. 6 . Breaks will be scheduled as the work allows and will be no more than 15 minutes in a four hour period. • refer to any Collective Agreements articles that apply. other leave: if the employee is entitled to other leave.

Restrictive Covenants: The “Employee” will be restricted from contacting current “Employer’s” clients. __________________________________ ____________________________________________ (Date) selected during hiring process) (Name of “Employee” I DECLARE that (Name of Employer or Business) the terms and conditions of the employment position described herein is offered to (Name of selected “employee”). The “Employee” agrees that all Fees for Services applied for Veterinary Services provided to clients during the course of business will remain confidential for a period of ____ months from the time this employment agreement is terminated by either party. for the purposes of conducting or providing veterinary related services for a period of ____ months from the time this employment agreement is terminated by either party. I DECLARE that I have read and understand the terms and conditions of the employment position described herein. in the event of the “Employee’s” death or “With Cause”: no compensation will be paid to the “Employee” after the agreement is cancelled. ____________________________________ ____________________________________________ (Date) legally representing the “Employer”) (Name of individual SAMPLE LETTER OF OFFER 7 . “Without Cause”: the employer provide give a minimum of ____ weeks notice to the “Employee” and pay salary and benefits in respect of the notice period as agreed. By the “Employee”: the employee will provide a minimum of ___ weeks notice.Cancellation of this Agreement: This agreement can be cancelled only as follows: By the “Employer”. The “Employer” will pay salary and benefits in respect of the notice period as agreed. By the “Employer”.

You will become part of a fast-paced and dedicated team that works together to provided clients with the highest level of Veterinary care. As a member of our (Name of Business) team. we are delighted to offer you the position of (Position title) with (Name of Business). Province . Our Administrative Assistant will contact you by telephone next week to set a meeting date. In addition. The following points highlight the terms and conditions that we are proposing: Job Description: Start Date: Salary: Probation: ($ (See attached document) (date) Per Year) (Indicate Name of Business’s Policy) Group Benefits: (Provide list of Benefits--no details) Hours of Work: (Describe the hours of work per week this position requires) (Indicate what time and location the employee should show at work on the first day) Following the initial probationary period. Sincerely.(Position Title) Dear (Ms. as the need may arise. we would ask for your commitment to deliver outstanding quality and results that exceed client expectations. grow and develop to the highest level of your Veterinary Technician career. _____________________________________ ____________________________ 8 . We are would like to enter into an Employment Agreement with you that will adequately characterize our new employer/employee relationship. Postal Code) RE: LETTER OF OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT . and to clarify or modify this arrangement. actions. we expect your personal accountability in all the products. In return. we are committed to providing you with every opportunity to learn. (Name of person acting on behalf of the Employer) (Title) (Name of Business) With the signature below.Employer Letterhead (Date:) (Name) (Address) (City. I accept this offer of employment. Last Name) Following our recent discussion. a progression and performance review will be conducted on a quarterly basis to assess performance to-date. advice and results that you provide as a representative of (Name of Business).

(Name of Veterinary Technician) (Date) 9 .