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B. Common express terms

Although each employment contract is different, there are usually the following common express terms:


a) Position and description of duties/role

The employee's position in which he is being employed for will be stated together with a brief description of the duties that the employee is expected to perform.


b) Commencement of employment

The date of commencing the employment will usually be stated.


c) Place and hours of work

The work location will be specified in the contract. For work that requires travelling, it is common for the contract to state that the employee will be required to travel and work at various locations. The employer may also reserve the right to change the employee's principal place of work to other location.


The hours of work will also be stated. It is common for employers to state whether the employee is entitled to additional remuneration for work outside the normal office hours.


The rest days to be enjoyed by the employee may also be stated under this head.


d) Remuneration

The wages of the employees will usually be expressed as monthly or yearly salary, and may sometimes specify the time and method of payment.


e) Bonuses and/or End of year payment

It is common for employers to state the employee’s entitlement to a discretionary bonus and/or end of year payment under this head.


f) Annual leave

The number of days of annual leave entitled by the employee per year will be stated.


g) Sick leave and sickness allowances

An employee is entitled to sickness allowance under the Employment Ordinance. The contract may have terms which stipulate the payment of wages during any period of sick leave or the requirement of a medical certificate.


h) Probation period

Some contracts may have the probationary clause which states that the employment is subject to a probationary period. In Hong Kong, the probationary period usually lasts from 1 to 3 months.


i) Termination

The employment can usually be terminated by either the employer or the employee by giving notice in writing or payment in lieu of notice. The agreed period of notice varies and will usually be stated in the contract of employment.


Apart from giving notice, the contract may also spell out the circumstances where the employer can terminate the employment without giving notice or payment in lieu, which usually involve the employee's breach of his duties under the employment contract.


j) Entire agreement

The contract may also contain an “entire agreement” clause saying the terms contained in the contract constitute the entire agreement between the parties, meaning any representation or promise made to the employee previously will be superseded.