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Is beginning work concluding the contract?

Viimati uuendatud: 25.02.2017


From the moment when the employee starts fulfilling work tasks, a contractual relationship is formed with the employer and the Employment Contracts Act applies for both parties. Thus, employment contract relationship can emerge without concluding the contract, by beginning work.

If the employee starts working without concluding a written contract, it is reasonable to agree on the most significant aspects (work tasks, remuneration, location of working, etc.) in a written and reproducible form, for example via email, as oral agreements are almost impossible to prove afterwards. When work has already begun, then the working conditions are approved and later, when signing the written contract, it is assumed that the employee agrees with contractual conditions.

When beginning work without a written agreement, the employee can demand the employer to conclude the written contract in 14 calendar days, at the latest.

A written employment contract must not be concluded if the employment relationship lasts less than 2 weeks. However, it is recommended to conclude it to avoid later misunderstandings and disputes.

Absence of the written form does not make the employment contract and agreement between parties non-existent, but could complicate proving the agreements if disputes arise regarding salary, work tasks and other conditions. If the employee has begun to fulfil tasks but the contract has not been concluded in writing, the employer cannot say later that a contract has not been concluded.

If a party wishes to end the employment relationship without a written contract, they must still follow the legal termination rules. Therefore, an oral agreement with an employee does not simplify ending the employment relationship for the employer. It rather brings along a labour dispute that could end in paying compensation to the other party.

When beginning an employment relationship, all related rights and responsibilities should always be discussed and fixed in writing.

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