For first time, Aussie firm rolls out visual employment contracts in PH

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Australia-based engineering and design company Aurecon has rolled out new visual employment contracts in Asia, starting with its Philippines office. This is the first time that a company is using visual characters in its employment contracts in the country.

The employment contract eliminates more than 4,000 words to create a succinct and engaging visual contract that uses illustrations to complement the text.

Aurecon’s office in the Philippines follows in the steps of its counterparts in Australia and New Zealand that launched their own versions of the visual employment contracts in 2018.

The first visual employment contracts in Australia were developed in partnership with law professor Camilla Andersen from the University of Western Australia.

For Aurecon’s global shared services manager in the Philippines, Sonny Bartido, introducing visual employment contracts strengthens the company’s relationship between the organization and its employees right from the beginning.

“This is a welcome development in the Philippines because visual arts are highly embedded in the Filipino way of living. But visual employment contracts are not only about the images. It is about ensuring that we establish understanding, engagement and trust with our employees right away,” Bartido explained.

With words like “severability” and “fidelity”, and phrases such as “pecuniary interest” – it is easy to see that traditional employment contracts are unnecessarily complex and don’t create an environment in which employment relationships can thrive.

New employees joining Aurecon no longer receive a “Letter of Appointment” accompanied by a lengthy “Conditions of Employment” document written in legal terms and small font.

The company said the transition to visual format eliminates complex legal jargons and replace them with illustrations to better explain concepts. The new format then ensures that the intent behind the letter of appointment is understood by all parties.

This fosters a richer talent engagement, which is becoming one of Aurecon’s biggest competitive differentiators across many industries and companies, the company said.

“At Aurecon, we strongly believe in the principles of being playful with serious intent and in making the complex simple. Implementing the visual employment contract in the Philippines certainly helps enhance our new employees’ experience,” said Anabel Delleva, Aurecon’s people operations manager for Asia and Middle East.

“In fact, these new contracts received positive initial response when we rolled it out in the country in January 2020.”

Aurecon said its external legal counsel in the Philippines said that using illustrations in an employment contract are enforceable in the country.

“Though not yet tested before our courts, we are of the opinion that Aurecon’s innovative employment contracts that use illustrations to complement simple text are enforceable in this jurisdiction,” the firm stated.

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