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Don’t sign an employment contract until you have checked these points: Congratulations, you got the job! Of course you’re excited and you can’t wait to send back your contract and start your new job resign from your current role. But wait, before you sign your new contract here are the top tips of what to look out for before you do.
Don’t sign an employment contract until you have checked out these points
Congratulations, you got the job! Of course you’re excited and you can’t wait to send back your contract and start your new job resign from your current role. But wait, before you sign your new contract here are the top tips of what to look out for before you do.
The job title – Is it the same as you discussed at interview? This may not seem too important but the wording used will determine where you fit in to the companies salary bandings and your worth on the open market if you want to leave. Don’t sign a contract that says you’re an account coordinator if you were at told at interview you would be an account executive. In the same way, don’t accept a manager title if you’ve been offered a head of department role.
Probationary period – Be clear about how long your probationary period is and the amount of notice you and your employer have to give during this time – it is often much shorter than once you have passed your probation.
Notice period – Make sure that the notice period you have to give your employer is the same length as the one they have to give to you. The level of notice period is usually determined by the seniority of the role. Having a long notice period can work for you as it may be in your interest to know you have a salary coming in whilst on notice. It can also work against you as some companies will not want to wait 3 months even for a good quality candidate.
Restrictive covenants – these are there to stop you from working for a competitor or within a certain distance to the company. Generally these are for a period of up to 6 months however if they are asking for longer this could really hold you back in your career
Employers power to vary – Be aware that many contracts will state that the employer has the right to change the location, hours, duties and pay of the role at any time they chose. Companies can do this to save themselves time and paperwork if you are promoted but really they add this to your contract to give them flexibility to change things in line with company strategy.
Salary and benefits – Be sure that the contract is absolutely clear about your basic salary and any benefits the company offer. If your role offers a bonus check whether you still receive it if you leave the company before the bonus becomes payable. If you are on commission check the structure and timings of these payments so you are absolutely clear before you start the job.
Additional documents – If your contract refers to an employee handbook, bonus scheme or any HR policies you have not yet seen make sure you review them before you sign as they may be enforceable under your contract.
Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are unhappy with anything in your contract and if you are unsure about anything speak to HR or an employment lawyer. You need to decide what is important to you, many companies will not negotiate on their standard contracts. Your contract is a legally binding document so make sure you understand what you are signing.