Home - Should position descriptions be attached to employment contracts?

Should we attach an employee’s position description to the employment contract? If it is attached in the Schedule, does it become a contractual term? Is it more difficult to change the duties of the employee if the position description is attached to the contract?

Generally, it is best practice for employers to ensure that position descriptions do not form part of employment contracts. Using a position description together with an employment contract may limit an employer’s ability to change the employee’s role once their employment commences. This is because attaching a position description to an employment contract is likely to result in it forming part of that contract. Where this occurs, an employer telling an employee to perform tasks that do not sufficiently relate to their position description may present legal risk. Variation to the position description, meanwhile, would require variation to the employment contract, which may present difficulties.

Therefore, it is best practice to provide a position description separate to the employment contract, and perhaps even after the employee commences their role. This will reduce the risk of an employee arguing that the position description forms part of their contract (and thereby limit the employer’s ability to change the role).

Alternatively, if the employee is insistent on attaching the position description to the contract, terms clearly stating that the position description does not form part of the contract and that the employer may vary the position description will have a similar effect. This would, however, require careful wording, so you should seek legal advice first.

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