obligations of the employer and the employee

Fundamentally, the employer and employee must act reasonably, act in good faith and not break the trust and confidence that is present in all employment relationships. For employers, these are set out in employment legislation and workplace policies. For employees, it is a matter of exercising reasonable care and relevant skills and knowledge, as well as complying with lawful requests.

An employer owes their employee the following duties, which can be implied through employment legislation or expressed in the employment contract:

  • to pay the agreed wages and provide pay slips
  • to reimburse employees for any work-related expenses
  • to ensure a safe working environment
  • to not act in a way that may seriously damage an employee’s reputation, or cause mental distress or humiliation
  • not provide a false or misleading reference
  • to make appropriate payments under the superannuation scheme.

obligations of the employee

An employee also has implied obligations towards the employer. As well as ensuring that they show up for work and work the agreed hours, other obligations include:

  • to work with reasonable care
  • to use skills and knowledge to fulfill work duties
  • to obey any lawful and reasonable requests
  • to behave reasonably
  • to keep themselves and others safe at work
  • to act in good faith and honesty.

mutual obligations

Both the employer and employee have a duty to deal with each other openly, honestly, and without misleading each other. This requires both parties to actively maintain a productive working relationship in which they are responsive and communicative.  

Examples may include providing reasonable notice of termination if the employment contract does not contain a notice period, or providing adequate training for a new position or role within the company.


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