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Employment contracts: Terms and clauses

Last updated December 2022

This chapter explains what contract terms and clauses are, which ones are essential in every contract and which are optional.

Terms of an employment contract

Definition: Terms

Terms of an employment contract are the components of a contract that create legally binding obligations on one or both parties.

Terms in an employment contract may either be:

  • express; or
  • implied.
Remember: An employment contract need not be in writing. Some employment contracts are informal and readily inferred by one party performing work for another party in exchange for payment or some other benefit.

What are express terms?

Definition: Express Terms

Express terms are matters to which an employer and an employee have consciously agreed, either through discussion or in writing.

An express term might refer to documents separate from the contract (e.g. workplace policies) and seek to incorporate the terms of those documents into the contract.