Employment Policies, Procedures and Contracts
Employer policies can be recorded in the form of official workplace policies, an employee handbook or a code of conduct. Policies may provide terms on items similar to a Collective Bargaining Agreement (e.g. bonuses, insurance, leaves of absences, due process and/or drug testing), but are typically drafted, implemented, and amended by employers alone. For collective bargaining employers, policies and past practices supplement or clarify items contained in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Policies must be carefully written by employers because policies can sometimes create implied contracts with employees.
See also: What to Include in Employee Handbooks
Many public employers are statutorily required to enter into written contracts with employees and some private employers do this voluntarily to provide certainty about the employment relationship. Employment contracts typically include a stated term and a standard for termination, and may include provisions for time off, bonuses, non-competition or non-disclosure of trade secrets. The term of an employment contract may range from less than 1 year to an indefinite time (for tenured employees).
Collective Bargaining Agreements
Specified public employers and private employers with unionized employees collectively bargain working conditions. The terms are ultimately memorialized in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”). The CBA then governs all employees included in the bargaining unit (e.g. teachers, plumbers, nurses or bus drivers). A CBA usually provides worker protections beyond those provided by statute or at common law, and may include provisions for tenure, due process, raises, bonuses, insurance, leaves of absence and/or drug testing. The term of a CBA can range from 1 to 10 years, but 3-4 years is more typical.