Dealing with Freelance/Contract Employees
Remember Adeola from our previous article, well she’s been able to set up her fashion studio at the property she bought.
The next thing on her list is recruiting some personnel needed for the day-to-day running of her business. Whilst compiling the roles and the appropriate description for each role, she concluded that some of these roles didn’t need full-time employees as some tasks/responsibilities were seasonal just like ‘Money Heist’. Some of these roles included having a web designer, fashion content curator and a graphic designer for her social media platforms.
In her bid to be best equipped in handling these special group of employees who are best described as freelancers or contract staff, she began to do some research on DIYlaw’s Resources platform and after a whole night of reading, writing, snacking and dozing, she knew what to put in place once she found the people she needed. What are these things?
Who is a contract staff without a contract? and what is contract employment if there isn’t an agreement on the terms of engagement? In dealing with contract staff and freelancers, you must have a written agreement that states the job to be done, the remuneration for the job done, how it will be paid, the time frame for the contract (3 months, 6 months, 1 year), and of course, how the contract can be terminated or extended when the duration lapses.
It should also explicitly state the working hours, reporting mechanism and timeline for deliverables.
Most importantly, both of you should sign to show agreement with the terms of the contract.
What happens in Rome stays in Rome! Just as what happens in Yaba, Ikeja, or Lekki must stay there.
Many businesses (yours inclusive) are built on ideas and the execution of these ideas usually involves sharing them with others, including your contact and freelance staff. This means that you must ensure that there is a structure in place to ensure that ‘your special spice’ or ‘launch codes’ are not seen on the streets of Twitter. This structure is called a Non-Disclosure Agreement, popularly known as an NDA.
An NDA serves to protect the confidentiality of the information you share with them. It restricts third-party access to the information shared and is enforceable in court when breached. This implies that even after their contract is terminated, they still cannot share the confidential information with third parties.
This is very important especially when your contract/freelance staff is involved in building or creating part of your business’ intangible assets.
In law, there is a general assumption that the owner of a work, is its creator. This means if your employee creates any work during the period of his contract unless specifically stated, that employee owns such work.
As such, to validly transfer such work to you and your business, they need to sign an IP/Invention Assignment Agreement assigning such ownership to your business.
Consider how that a popular masterpiece in the Bible is called the Temple of Solomon even though he didn’t lift a stone or mix cement. You get now, right?
It is important to note that whether a staff is full-time, contract, or freelance, you should endeavour to do right by them, treat all fairly and ensure you have a good working relationship with them.
Finally, you can get both an NDA and a properly drafted employment contract for your business here.