A fixed-term (seasonal) employment contract is used when hiring a worker for a specific length of time. Unlike at-will contracts, neither party can terminate employment unless directly permitted in the agreement. Other than having fixed start and end dates, fixed-term contracts afford the employee many of the same potential benefits as at-will employees, including health insurance, paid time off, and vacation time.
Commonly Used For:
- Seasonal businesses
- Large projects
- Covering absent employees (such as maternity leave)
Much like a standard employment contract, a fixed-term contract lays the groundwork for the arrangement between an employee and employer and their duties and responsibilities to each other.
Like nearly all agreements, the form starts off by establishing the names and addresses of the parties. When completing the form, it’s recommended to use the entity’s name and principal mailing address instead of the name and address of the company’s owner.
Here the employer will need to clearly convey the day-to-day responsibilities the employee will have in 1-3 sentences. If the employer runs out of room, they can attach an addendum containing any additional language they wish to include. If the employer provides new hires with an employee handbook, they can create their own language on the form – something like “Please reference employee handbook page [#]” – to avoid having to outline all of the details when filling in the form. Referencing a handbook instead of manually writing a description provides the employer with a way of updating an employee’s duties without needing to amend and re-sign a new contract.
The benefits allotted to short-term or seasonal employees are often more limited when compared to standard, at-will workers. With that said, some employers opt to provide health insurance, PTO, vacation time, and other benefits for extended projects. Like the duties and responsibilities mentioned above, the employer can reference an employee handbook in lieu of manually inputting the employee’s benefits into the form.
This essential provision establishes the length of time the employee will work for their employer. Also included is whether or not the employee will be given the option to terminate the contract. If so, the employer will need to write the number (#) of days’ notice that must be provided before terminating (e.g., 14 days) and if severance will be provided should the employee or employer end the agreement.
Fixed-term employees are compensated in a similar fashion as at-will employees, although lump sum payments for an entire project are more common. The employer will need to convey the salary or hourly rate the employee will receive, followed by the situation(s) that constitute receiving a commission or bonus (if any).
The agreement includes a provision regarding confidentiality to provide entities with a means of collecting damages should a fixed-term employee steal (and leak) confidential information owned by the employer. What constitutes a “trade secret” is broad but includes recipes, formulas, patents, inventions, and processes, to name a few. Employers that want greater levels of control over what constitutes a trade secret can attach a standalone confidentiality agreement to the employment contract, known as a non-disclosure agreement.
To finalize the contract, both the newly hired employee and a representative of the employer (e.g., owner, HR manager, etc.) will need to sign and date the contract. Once signed, a copy should be provided to the employee digitally or in print.
FIXED-TERM EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT
This Employment Agreement (the “Agreement”) is made and effective as of [MM/DD/YYYY] by and between:
Employer: [EMPLOYER NAME] having its principal place of business at [EMPLOYER ADDRESS] (the “Employer”),
Employee: [EMPLOYEE NAME] with a mailing address of [EMPLOYEE ADDRESS] (the “Employee”).
The parties hereby agree to the following:
1. EMPLOYEE DUTIES. The Employee agrees that they will act in accordance with this Agreement and with the best interests of the Employer in mind. In carrying out the duties and responsibilities of their position, the Employee agrees to adhere to any and all policies, procedures, rules, and regulations as administered by the Employer. In addition, the Employee agrees to abide by all local, county, State, and Federal laws while employed by the Employer.
2. RESPONSIBILITIES. The Employee shall be given the job title of [EMPLOYEE JOB TITLE] (the “Position”), which shall involve:
[DESCRIBE EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES].
The Employer may also assign duties to the Employee from time to time as deemed necessary by the Employer. The Employee shall be expected to work: (check one)
3. EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. During the employment period, the Employee shall be eligible to participate in benefits established by the Employer. These include:
[DESCRIBE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS].
The aforementioned benefits may be changed at any time by the Employer.
4. FIXED-TERM. The Employer agrees to hire the Employee for a Specified Time-Period beginning on [MM/DD/YYYY] and ending on [MM/DD/YYYY]. The Employee and Employer have the right to terminate this Agreement by providing a minimum of [#] days’ notice to one another.
5. PAY. As compensation for the services provided, the Employee shall be paid $[AMOUNT] per hour. Payment shall be distributed to the Employee on a [FREQUENCY] (e.g., “monthly”) basis.
6. OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES. The Employer agrees to reimburse the Employee for the following expenses: (check all that apply)
☐ – Travel
☐ – Food
☐ – Lodging
☐ – Other: [OTHER EXPENSE(S)].
7. CONFIDENTIALITY. The Employee understands and agrees to keep any and all information confidential regarding the business plans, inventions, designs, products, services, processes, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, customer information, customer lists, prices, analytics data, costs, affairs, and any other information that could be considered proprietary to the Employer (the “Confidential Information”).
8. APPEARANCE. The Employee must appear at the Employer’s desired workplace at the time scheduled. If the Employee does not appear, for any reason, on more than [#] separate occasions in a 12-month calendar period, the Employer has the right to terminate this Agreement immediately.
9. NOTICES. All notices that are to be sent under this Agreement shall be done in writing and delivered via Certified Mail to the mailing addresses written above.
10. RETURN OF PROPERTY. The Employee agrees to return any and all property of the Employer upon the termination of employment.
11. SEVERABILITY. This Agreement shall remain in effect in the event a section or provision is unenforceable or invalid.
12. GOVERNING LAW. This Agreement shall be governed under the laws in the State of [STATE NAME].
13. SIGNATURES. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, this Agreement was signed by the parties under the hands of their duly authorized officers and made effective as of the undersigned date.
Employer Signature: _________________________ Date: [MM/DD/YYYY]
Printed Name: [PRINTED NAME]
Title: [JOB TITLE]
Employee Signature: _________________________ Date: [MM/DD/YYYY]
Printed Name: [PRINTED NAME]
Title: [JOB TITLE]