The 5 essential tips for writing an employment contract!

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Good practices, negotiation, essential clauses… Jacques Nyemb, lawyer and managing partner of the Nyemb firm returns to the essential points to be mentioned when drafting an employment contract in Cameroon.

In Cameroon, the employment contract is not necessarily a written contract unless it provides for a trial period, stipulates a fixed period of more than three months or requires the installation of the worker out of his habitual residence. However, it is advisable to draw up a contract to formalize the essential bases of the collaboration - in particular to specify the employee's function, his salary, his rights and obligations - in order to avoid any interpretation contrary to the initial will of the employer.

To write an employment contract, to each his own writing techniques but in order to avoid certain pitfalls, the employer is recommended to adopt some good practices for the preparation and drafting of the company's employment contracts.

1.Identify the good practices of your sector of activity

The first recommendation is to collect information on good practices and the values ​​of companies belonging to the same sector of activity as the employer; the objective being to be able to compare salary practices and other advantages offered in the sector of activity concerned.

Indeed, this would allow the employer to compare its offer with those of competing companies and ultimately be the most attractive in order to be able to attract and retain the best profiles.

This information is generally available on company websites and from specialist recruiters.

2. Master the negotiation process

This is to draw the employer's attention to the legal consequences of a job offer. Indeed, after the job interview, in the event that the employee's application has been selected, the employer will send the employee a written confirmation of the position, specifying the place of work, the remuneration and the date of input function. This writing can be qualified as a promise of employment.

However, the promise of employment can, in certain cases, be assimilated to the employment contract when it is sufficiently precise. Consequently, in the event of withdrawal of the offer, the employer may be held liable for dismissal without real and serious cause.

It is therefore recommended to clearly define and mark out your hiring process according to your preferences and strategic choices.

3. Master the applicable legal framework

Labor law provides a certain number of mandatory rules that the employer should respect in order not to see his contract nullified or his liability engaged. For example, in Cameroonian labor law, the employment contract with a worker of foreign nationality who is not endorsed by the Minister in charge of Labor, before any start of execution, is automatically void.

In addition, the Labor Code and collective agreements provide for the rights of employees, such as the right to paid vacation, as well as mandatory clauses such as the employee's probationary engagement or his professional category, which it is appropriate for an employer to respect. It is therefore recommended that the employer carry out a legal watch on the evolution of the regulations in force.

In certain cases, in particular when the employer does not master the applicable legal framework, it is recommended to be assisted by a consultant external to the company for the drafting of his employment contracts.

4. Carefully review the essential clauses

Although labor law is a mandatory right, the employer still has the possibility of adapting the hiring and working conditions of employees. The employer can thus provide for special clauses such as the non-competition clause, the exclusivity clause or even the mobility clause.

However, it is recommended that the employer pay particular attention to these clauses. In fact, with regard to non-competition and exclusivity clauses, although they are essential to the protection of the legitimate interests of the company, these clauses infringe the employee's freedom to work. They must therefore be limited in time and space and, for non-competition clauses, be accompanied by financial compensation.

5. Adapt the content of the contract

No one size fits all - the hiring and working conditions of employees vary depending on the position offered. The employment contract must take into account the specificities of the position and the clauses must therefore be able to be varied according to the employer.

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