First Employee Contract Needed?


From original questioner:

After 14 years working solo, I've finally made the leap of faith. Im in California and have set up payroll, got my state and federal
tax numbers and filed them. My wife thinks I need a work contract. I've never heard of that except in the business world. Do I need one? If so, where does one get one? Is there one for the trades?

From contributor Ca

I've thought of this before but nothing more than just that. I think it is a great idea though. I presume it would be something that you would get your attorney to write up for you. I'll be interested to see what others think. Good luck!!

From contributor Pa

Why? Is the worker asking for one? Don't give away power for no reason. Your ability to get rid of someone whenever you need to is an important tool for bosses. If you want paperwork, start with an employee manual. Use it to spell out your expectations for your workers.

From contributor Ch

No, I don't want one. I just want to be in compliance with all the technicalities involved in hiring my first employee and my wife mentioned the contract thing(then again she's from Germany..hahaha) I've never had a contract...ever. That's why I assumed it wasn't for trades people. Perhaps just white collar work.

From contributor Pa


From contributor ch

Thanks Pat

From contributor ca

There is a very informative blog by Paul Downs at the New York Times right now. It will touch on many things you are trying to accomplish and many you have not even yet thought of. It is very well written and has a lot of very useful comments by the people who have read it.

From contributor Pa

And no link... were you raised in a barn?

From contributor ca

Actually I was.
City living is not so bad though. Here you can piss off the porch AND piss off the neighbors.

From contributor Pa

but still no link?

From contributor ca

Something us hillbilly kids learned was that when you chop your own firewood you get warmed twice.

From contributor ch

you fun cabmaker! Love it! haha

From contributor Ro

You may Consider having your guys sign an NDA (Non Disclosure agreement).
this could Protect you From your Guys contacting your Clients to Jump ship also prevent them from using any Confidential Company data to their benefit.

From contributor Pa

Stop squabbling, kids. Or do I have to turn this car around?

I put a link to my archive below, and you can always google "Paul Downs New York Times" to get the latest article.

From contributor Pa

Finally someone who was not raised in a barn.

From contributor Al

You need an employee policy, it needs to address things like (off the top of my head)
Start time, number of breaks, length of breaks, whether to punch out for lunch, whether to punch out when they leave the premises.
When punching in early and out late isn't counted.
What day is payday and what time checks are ready.

Vacation and or holiday pay if any.
How much notice to take planned time off
Where to go in case of an accident.
Personal phone calls.
Wife or GF calling.
Use of the shop for personal projects.

OSHA accident tracking (even if you don't have accidents you need to post the report each year).
MSDS sheets, where they are.
safety plan
safety program
safety meetings.


From contributor Pa

Chris now that you are an employer. You might consider what Alan posted in conjunction with what Paul posted.

The policy that Alan is talking about should be expanded to include rules regarding discipline for consequences of violating the policies.

If you don't have clear cut rules and consequences then people will not be sure about what will happen if they...

E.G. if you do not show up and do not call in you are warned if it happens again you are fired.

You then have to fire them otherwise the rules become more of a suggestion and can be ignored.

If Paul would have had policy regarding his veteran worker it probably would have been easier on both sides of the situation.

So the smart owner (like Paul did) put these experiences into written policy so they don't happen again.

Policies tend to get ignored but have consequences when they are.

From contributor St

No. Do NOT enter into a contract/employment agreement/etc. What you need is an Employee Handbook of some sort and make sure there is an "At Will" clause in it. You also need to make sure the employee signs an acknowledgement that they have read and have a received a copy of the handbook.

That way you are protected. Our "At Will Clause in our handbook is as follows:

It should be noted that these pages do not constitute a contract of employment. Your Employment with Lloyd’s Custom Woodwork, Inc. is "at will". This means that both you and Lloyd’s Custom Woodwork, Inc. have the right to terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, with or without advance notice.

From contributor em

One time we had an employee that wasn't working out. It was obvious to us and to him. He came in to the office and said he would like to find another job but would like to continue working for us for another month while he looked for a new job.

About a week into this month his behavior became very belligerent. A week later the rest of the crew suggested we shorten the transition period to two weeks. I called him into the office and said it was over.

This jerk filed an unemployment claim and the state ruled in his favor. Because I had agreed to a 30 days contract they determined I had violated our employment agreement .

From contributor Ji

Really? DId you tell the state you had fired him for cause? Did you try to appeal?

Not doubting, just trying to find out their reasoning.

From contributor ji

There is no reasoning.
I had an eight year employee tell me he was taking off a week.
Couldn't reach him by phone, the following week I received notification he had filed for unemployment with a two word online statement -"no work".
I protested, but employment office said already approved.
I sent copies of his facebook page with timeline showing him commenting on his new job and pictures of what they were working on. STILL APPROVED!
@#×!!## IT

From contributor ch

I think I'm going into ostrich mode now. Whatever happened to honesty and integrity?