7. Contract administration
- Ensure all staff is issued with contracts and include a probationary period for all new staff.
- Ensure that HR capacity is sufficient to meet demands for contract administration.
- In new operational areas, ensure the employment agreement complies with local labour laws.
- Closely monitor expiry dates of all staff contracts.
If the HR management capacity in a CO is insufficient to cope with an increase in HR administration requirements, the recruitment demands of an emergency can result in bottlenecks in issuing contracts. The CO must plan and staff HR accordingly to ensure that all staff are provided with contracts at the outset of their assignments, and avoid the situation where emergency teams work without contracts.
In general, employment agreements for all new employees should consider either an appropriate probationary period or a short-term contract for a first ‘appointment’ with CARE. Where applicable, and subject to respective local laws and customs, a probationary period must be documented clearly in the employment agreement. Alternatively, and again subject to local labour laws, a maximum one or two-month fixed-term contract should apply for first-time employees to CARE. This allows time to review performance before a longer-term contract is confirmed.
Expiry dates of contracts must be closely monitored and managed. In some countries, there can be significant liabilities under labour laws if staff works beyond the period of their contract. Where extensions are to be offered, HR should communicate confirmation of the extension as early as possible and issue contract extensions before the previous contract expires. Failing to undertake this has been a common hold-up for emergency HR administration, so COs should implement these actions.
Where a CO is already established, many HR systems should be in place, including standard employment agreements. Where significant gaps exist due to the unusual situation in an emergency, the CO should seek advice from the Lead Member on whether they have standard guidelines that apply in the development of such employment agreements. Where none exist, then refer to Annex 21.23 Employment agreements/national staff-samples, which can assist in formulating these when needed. Where new employment agreements are formulated and applied for the first time in the country, they should be reviewed by legal counsel to ensure full compliance against local labour law requirements.
The Deploying Member usually issues employment contracts or variations to employment contracts for international staff. The terms and conditions of the employment contract are determined by each National Member’s employment policies and practice. The associated costs must be agreed to between the CO and the Deploying Member. Extensions to contracts must also be requested of the Deploying Member with as much notice as possible.
CARE USA have a detailed TDY Policy (Compensation for temporary duty assignments), which outlines compensation and entitlements that apply to both international and national staff transferring to another CO for an emergency assignment. See Annex 21.31 CARE USA TDY policy.