I am on the payroll of a small company as a full-time employee. In my spare time I developed a small computer program that will automate a regular task done by another junior employee. This will free her up to do other things. Time saved amounts to about a day each week.
What ownership rights do I have over the program, if any? Should I be clear that I own the program, and that I'm only 'leasing' it to them for free? If I don't, would I forfeit my rights to it?
For instance if I left after three months and they demand it and I refuse (or ask to be compensated), could they say sth like, 'hey, we believe this belongs to us because you did it while you were employed by us and you didn't tell us otherwise', and they would be right? Or is the onus on them to ask from the beginning?
Finally, is this sort of thing often written into employment contracts?
I am not a developer at the company and so would not be expected to do this sort of work - I did it off my own back spending my own time and money.
Thanks very much!