Terms of employment are all terms agreed between employer and employee when entering into the employment contract. Employment terms are usually laid down in an employment contract, company regulations and/or collective labour agreement.
Although these are not legal terms, a distinction is often made between primary terms of employment, secondary terms of employment and tertiary terms of employment. So, what do they mean?
Primary terms of employment
The primary terms of employment are, as it were, the core agreements in the employment contract. Think of the salary and the position. Also the number of hours an employee works per week and the 13th month can be seen as the primary terms of employment.
Secondary terms of employment
Employment terms such as an expense or travel allowance, a pension scheme, a bonus scheme, a lease or company car and a company telephone are often referred to as secondary terms of employment.
Tertiary terms of employment
Tertiary terms of employment are terms of employment that do not really belong to the primary and secondary terms of employment. Think of (the offerings in) the company restaurant and (the facilities around) the workplace.
Amending terms of employment
The starting point is that agreements must be honoured. Therefore, in general, agreed terms of employment cannot be amended unilaterally by the employer without the consent of an employee.
Whether or not it is possible to amend terms of employment depends, among other things, on the agreements made in this respect, whether primary, secondary or tertiary terms and conditions of employment are amended and the employer’s reason for amending.