[Ask HR] How to Turn a Verbal Agreement Into a Written Employment Contract?

Ask HR is a series of online articles consisting of answers to most commonly asked questions by Business Owners, Executives, Internal HR Teams, Managers, Job Seekers and HR Students.  For more information on the format, Ask HR Series and how to submit your questions, please follow this link: Ask HR

This week’s Ask HR question is:

Can an employer write up and present a new employment contract to an employee who has been employed already under a ‘verbal contract’ for over 2 years?

The consensus among our HR Experts is that this is a great idea. This can be done at any time, particularly when both you and your employee are in agreement with the terms and conditions.   But the sooner you do it, the better; as both parties will benefit from a documented agreement.

A best practice would be to sit down with your employee and  confirm and outline everything that was agreed upon verbally.  Prepare a formal employment contract and present it to the employee.

As long as there aren’t any major changes to the job description, compensation or work conditions it shouldn’t be a problem getting employee’s consent and signature. Be sure to document the whole process as well.

If there are significant differences between what you’re offering in the employment contract and what was originally agreed upon verbally you will need to provide enough notice of change or some consideration to gain the employees agreement.

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