The Key Elements of Contracts for Fitness Staff

April 7, 2024

This article contains some of the key ideas from a webinar presented by Ash Williams, and published on The Business of Fitness Podcast. Always seek independent legal advice as this information is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation.

For gym owners and personal trainers, the importance of clear, written contracts cannot be overstated. These documents play a crucial role in defining the relationship between businesses and their employees or contractors, providing a solid foundation in case of disputes.

Importance of Written Contracts

Although verbal agreements are legally valid, they offer little security when conflicts arise. Written contracts create a mutual understanding and agreement, which is particularly vital in the fitness industry where disputes over terms and conditions could potentially disrupt your business operations.

Essential Components of an Employment Contract

A comprehensive employment contract in the fitness industry should address specific key elements to ensure clarity and legal compliance with Australian laws:

  • Remuneration: Clearly outline payment rates, frequency, and any applicable allowances or penalties. Mention if an award or enterprise agreement applies, which is common in the fitness sector. If you are not paying in accordance with the award, however are covered by one, look at including wording (for example an offset clause)
  • Hours of Work: Define working hours, accommodating the often flexible schedules needed in fitness roles, including personal trainers and gym staff.
  • Employment Conditions: Specify requirements unique to the fitness industry, such as adhering to drug and alcohol policies.
  • Qualifications: List necessary licenses or training qualifications, essential for roles like personal trainers, to uphold service quality and safety standards.
  • Commercial Conditions: Incorporate clauses related to restraint of trade and non-solicitation to safeguard your business interests without overstepping legal bounds.
  • Termination Notice: Clearly indicate the notice periods for termination from both the employer and employee perspectives, ensuring both parties understand the terms of disengagement.

Legal Compliance and Template Caution

Utilising online templates for contracts can be helpful, but gym owners and personal trainers must ensure these remain current with evolving legislation. Legal parameters change, and clauses that were permissible a year ago, such as those prohibiting employees from discussing their pay, may now be illegal under the National System. It’s vital to regularly review and update these templates to avoid incorporating outdated or illegal terms.


In Australia’s fitness industry, drafting detailed and legally compliant contracts for employees and contractors is essential. These contracts delineate both parties’ expectations and responsibilities and provide legal protection for your business. Given the dynamic nature of legal standards, it’s crucial for fitness business owners to keep these documents up to date, ensuring they reflect current laws and industry practices.

Dan Williams

Dan Williams


Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion and leads a team of Exercise Physiologists, Sports Scientists, Physiotherapists and Coaches. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology.

Our Most Recent Articles: