Are your teacher contracts up to date? 4 key provisions to consider | Fisher Phillips

With hiring for the next school year underway, this is the perfect time to review your employment contracts. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, you need to make sure your contracts work for, not against, your school. Here are four examples of important legal provisions you should consider.

  • Term: Your school must decide whether to employ the individual for a fixed term (the 2022-2023 school year) or on an “at will” basis, with the expectation that the employee will work the full term.
  • Compensation: You must provide clear information about compensation. For example, how will you pay your teachers (over 10 or 12 months)? How will you manage the payment of additional rights? And overtime? Are you going to take pay cuts for unpaid leave or force majeure events?
  • Termination: The termination clause is usually the most common reason why disputes ensue in contracts for teachers. Therefore, it is extremely important that you work with a lawyer and consider the type of termination clause you are going to use – whether it is termination for cause or without cause, or employment at will. You should also consider whether you plan to include clauses to deal with other circumstances such as disability, death and resignation.
  • force majeure: In light of the challenges posed by the pandemic, many schools should consider strengthening or adding force majeure clauses, which excuse the performance obligations of one or both parties when circumstances beyond the control of the parties arise and make the performance of the contract impracticable or impossible.

Of course, there are a number of additional provisions you should take into account, such as clauses describing duties, benefits, confidentiality, pre-employment verification, digital images, intellectual property, rules disputes, electronic signatures and the like. You should consult your employment attorney to ensure that your documents comply with state law and protect your school.

About Charles D. Goolsby

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