An example of plain language in an employment contract

A before-and-after example of a plain-language rewrite

There are many ways to write legal content in plain language. Here’s a before-and-after example of a clause from an employment contract. In this case, we kept the tone quite formal and conventional. While the tone might change with context, all #contracts should be written in #PlainLanguage.

Legalese in employment contractPlain-language clause
Probation (only applicable to new Employees)
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this agreement, this agreement is subject to the Employee successfully completing a probation period of 3 (three) months commencing on the date of employment. During the probation period, the Employees performance will be assessed and where appropriate, the Employer will give the Employee such reasonable evaluation, instruction, training, guidance or counseling as may be required to enable the Employee to render a satisfactory service.
On or before expiry of the probation period, the Employees employment may be confirmed alternatively the Employees employment may be terminated (by the giving of 1 (one) weeks written notice) or the probation period may be extended for such further period as the Employer may determine to be fair and reasonable and after allowing the Employee an opportunity to make representations.
Probation of three months

The purpose of the probation period:
There is a three-month probation period, which applies from the start of your employment. The purpose of probation is to assess whether you are suitable for the position that we appointed you to.

During your probation:
We base our assessment on your performance during the probation period. To help you to do your job well, you’ll receive reasonable evaluation, instruction, training, guidance and counselling.

After the probation period:
At the end of the probation period, we’ll do one of the following:
– Confirm your employment
– End your employment by giving you one week’s notice in writing
– Allow you to present your case to extend the probation period. If we agree, we will extend the probation period for as long as we consider fair and reasonable.

At any time during your probation, you or we may give the other one week’s notice in writing to end your employment with us.  



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