Written Contract of Service

All about Written Contracts, How do Written Contracts Work? All About Contracts and Decent Work and Salaries and Labour Laws and more on Mywage Zambia

What is a Written Contract of Service?

A written contract is a contract of service that is made in writing. It is usually for a period of six months, exceeding six months or equivalent to six months or more working days. 

What does the law say about Written Contracts? 

According to the Employment Act, for a contract of service to be considered a written contract, it has to:

  • Be made for a period of six months, exceeding six months or the number of working days is equivalent to six months or more.
  • Be a Contract of Foreign Service.
  • Involve some specific work which cannot be completed within six months or within a number of working days equivalent to six months from the start of the work.

Is a Written Contract binding? 

Yes. A written contract is legally binding once it has been signed, initialled or has been affixed with thumb/finger impressions in the presence of a person other than the employer.

Is a Written Contract binding to family members?

No. It is by law illegal for a written contract to hold a family bondage. The law states clearly that that a written contract of service shall not be binding on the family of an employee. 

Can I sign a Written Contract if I am in doubt?

No. Never append a signature or thumb/finger print impressions onto a written contract before understanding the full contents, responsibilities and working conditions being offered. 

An employee must fully understood and freely consent to the contents of the written contract before accepting it. Consent to accept a written contract must not be obtained:

  • By coercion
  • Under undue influence
  • By threats
  • By intimidation 
  • As a result of misinterpretation or mistake.

Who terminates a Written Contract?

Both an employer and employee can terminate a written contract. This can be done if both employer and employee mutually agree to it in writing. 

A contact can also not be terminated:

  • Without notice of termination (at least month notice) 
  • When an employer dies before the expiration period of the contract
  • On racial, political, sex, tribe or religious grounds
  • For belonging to a trade union 

Under what circumstance can a Written Contract be terminated? 

A written contract may be terminated:

  • When an employee dies before the end of the contract
  • When an employee is convicted and sentenced to prison for a committing a crime
  • When an employee fails to perform duties and responsibilities required of them
  • When an employee absconds from duties without valid reason
  • When an employee does not agree to the terms and conditions offered by the employer  

What is contained in a Written Contract?

  • Name and address of the employer (company logo and official date stamp/seal are applicable)
  • Duration (the period of time for which the employee is engaged)
  • Probation period (if any)
  • Responsibilities (an outline of what is expected from an employee)
  • Remuneration ( payment breakdown and how it will be administered)
  • Special benefits (information on leave, illness, funeral, family, overtime, holiday, meal, housing, transportation, safety, bonuses and other outside work related incentives) 
  • Working hours and periods (shifts if applicable).

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