Conditions of Employment

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What are “conditions of employment?”

Alternatively called terms of employment, conditions of employment are the collective set of requirements, responsibilities, policies, and rules that are pertinent to a specific job. Conditions of employment are agreed upon by both the employer and employee usually during the hiring process. 

Why are conditions of employment important? 

Conditions of employment for clarity and protection of both employers and employees. Discussing the terms of employment, including less than pleasant topics such as non-compete clauses, nondisclosure, and dispute resolution, is essential. In this way, everything is black and white and confusion is prevented. 

Although conditions of employment may be verbally agreed upon, these should be stipulated on a written document or contract which both parties will sign. This will reduce potential liability should any legal issues arise. 

Where can you find conditions of employment? 

Conditions of employment are normally outlined in employee handbooks, company policies, and manuals. Additionally, conditions of employment are also indicated in employment contracts. 

What is typically included in the conditions of employment? 

While the conditions of employment may vary by job and by the employer, conditions of employment generally indicate terms that are particular to the job. The following are commonly included: 

Aside from job-specific terms, conditions of employment may also include those that are followed by the entire organization or company. Examples are as follows:

Who decides on the conditions of employment? 

In the United States, the minimum standards for conditions of employment are set by the Department of Labor (DOL). Any stipulation related to minimum wage, overtime wages, and mandated breaks is set by the DOL. However, state laws may also have additional benefits and standards that must be followed. 

Other than the conditions required by the DOL and the state, all other terms of employment are under the discretion of the employer. Job candidates who are highly-skilled, professional, or who hold executive positions are more likely able to negotiate more favorable conditions of employment. Depending also on the type of industry, unions may negotiate conditions of employment on behalf of their members. 

Ultimately, no matter how small or big a business is, all conditions of employment must be aligned with federal and state laws. 

Is it possible for conditions of employment to change? 

Employers can change conditions of employment as required by the business. But this is only possible for as long as they do not go against any federal or state guideline. Amendment in the terms of employment may involve anything such as adding benefits, leaves, or changes in work schedule. However, employers must be cautious in changing the conditions of employment. If there is a written contract, the terms are binding and must be followed for the duration of the contract unless both parties agree on a renegotiation. Any change must be documented and signed accordingly.

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