Construction and Employee Contracts

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about instituting more formal rules:

We work in the construction industry and have never given our staff contracts. We’ve only given verbal, e.g. how many hours work per week. I would like to implement them now but how do I do this, as I need to give a verbal and written warning?

Signed, In Construction

DearĀ In Construction:

The construction industry is what you might call “vary”, and because hours vary, a contract could commit you to having to pay employees for time Not worked. Ask around on this. A lot depends on whether you are a contractor or managing a construction business where your staff normally works 40 hours per week. Since your history is verbal, then the courts would recognize that as established work hours. (Of course you have to document each week that you gave verbal instructions!). Next, do you have an employee manual? If so, you could post an addendum to the handbook outlining the “hours” to be worked for all employees. This way it would enable you to give verbal and/or written warnings, plus you have to outline what constitutes actions that may be committed by an employee that warrants verbal/written warnings. To be more specific, I would need more information from you on the type of construction business you are operating–whether you have office staff, whether you work year round, whether your workers normally work a 40 hour work week, etc.

Dan Kearney, Guest Respondent