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What Are Standard Clauses In Employment Contracts?

Employment contracts have become the standard for most workplaces. An employment contract is an agreement that outlines the terms of employment between the employer and employee. Many workplaces opt for relying on a written agreement because it reduces the possibility of expensive litigation. However, there are certain minimum requirements that employment contract clauses must include to be considered valid. For example, an employment contract cannot contract out of legislated standards like the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”). With this in mind, this article aims to clarify some expected standard clauses in employment contracts.

What are examples of standard clauses in employment contracts?

An employment contract needs to contain some sort of benefit or consideration. In most employment contracts, this would be an exchange where an employee provides their skills and services to the company and the employer would provide monetary compensation to the employee in return. All valid and enforceable employment contracts contain this exchange and the relevant information should be located under the job title, duties and remuneration sections.

Probation dates, vacation time, benefits, notice periods, with or without cause terminations, can also be included as clauses in your contract as well. Most employers will opt for written employment contracts when extending an offer to an employee in order to legally limit the amount of notice or compensation that they will owe to employees whose employment is terminated without cause. However, employers cannot contract to provide less than the minimum ESA standard for these clauses, and if they do, the contract will be considered invalid. Employers are free to negotiate for more benefits with their employees, but cannot negotiate below the minimums.

Additionally, there are certain implied terms that are included that outline rights and obligations for both employers and employees. For example, an implied clause of an employment contract could stipulate that an employee will perform their duties honestly and in good faith. Similarly, an employer has a duty of good faith and fair dealing when terminating an employee.

What if my employer did not offer a written employment contract at the time of onboarding?

A common misconception is that all employment agreements are written and need to be written in order to be valid. As an employee, you may be bound by an oral agreement that carries certain safeguards to protect you throughout your employment tenure. This oral agreement can provide certain entitlements set out in the ESA, and any other benefits your employer may have made during the course of your employment. Additionally, the implicit terms outlined above are understood to be a part of every employment relationship between an employer and employee.


Having a written employment agreement is beneficial for both employees and employers as both parties have something tangible to refer to throughout their relationship. If you are in the process of onboarding for a new position or have been presented with an employment contract for the first time, we advise hiring an employment lawyer to review your contract. An employment lawyer will help you understand the contract and whether it is valid based on the clauses included.

Contact Us 

If you are an employer who needs an employment contract drafted, or an employee who wishes to have your employment contract reviewed, our team of experienced workplace lawyers at Achkar Law can help. Contact us by phone toll-free at + 1-800-771-7882 or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to assist.

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Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to serve as or should be construed as legal advice and is only to provide general information. It is in no way particular to your case and should not be relied on in any way. No portion or use of this blog will establish a lawyer-client relationship with the author or any related party. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation, fill out the contact form, call (800) 771-7882 or email [email protected]