To Write or not to Write? International Laws on Employment Agreements


Employers in the United States, with the exception of a few jurisdictions, are accustomed to the concept of “employment at will”, which means that employees can be dismissed at any time and for any reason or no reason without notice or severance pay, unless there is a statute, contract or public policy legal tenet that provides otherwise. Further, U. S. employers also generally conduct business in a framework that allows them to decide whether or not to reduce an employment relationship to writing. However, managers, human resources professionals, recruiters and others who conduct business globally must be aware that the “employment at will” doctrine does not usually exist outside of the United States, and that many countries have specific laws requiring employment contracts. Employers who are not aware of these laws risk facing significant monetary consequences.

Numerous countries in regions throughout the world have specific statutes mandating the creation of written employment contracts. These statutes generally set forth requirements on a number of topics, including: the information that must be included in employment contracts; the duration of such contracts; limitations on fixed-term employment contracts; and regulations on job responsibilities that are not included in the initial written employment contract. The following is information on two countries that require the execution of written employment contracts:

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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