6 Things to Keep An Eye On in Your Employment Contract
At last! You’re going to be employed soon! Gone are the days of jumping from one interview to another. You’re finally going to step your foot at the door of opportunities and gain real-world experience. However, you also need to be wary of pitfalls. Before you sign the contract, here are the things you should check to ensure there are no hidden clauses that will come and bite you later on.
Job Title and Description
It might seem like a petty thing to worry about, but knowing your job title is critical to your work experience. It helps clarify your role in the company and your employer’s expectations regarding your performance.
More importantly, a job description helps clarify the scope of your responsibilities. You will want to avoid working for too broad, too general, or too vague of a job description. If you do, your employer will have an excuse to add up your workload without compensating for your efforts. It’s also important for employers to get an idea of how much potential liability they’ll have with a new hire.
Contract Length, Work Hours, and Job Security
The length of the contract is as essential as your job description. It will give you an idea of how long you’ll work for the company so you can set your career plans accordingly.
Some contracts are indefinite and offer permanent employment. Others can last from 6 months up to a year. Whatever you and your employer have discussed, check that there are no shady clauses that suggest automatic termination if a problem arises.
That means your employer can fire you anytime. You don’t want that to happen, right? Knowing this, you should negotiate for a more reasonable approach that gives you time to prepare, such as a 60-day notice before being out of the job.
About work hours, sign only if the contract makes it clear how long your shifts will be and how overtime policies work. Again, this helps you avoid unnecessary workload without proper compensation.
Salary, Bonuses, and Benefits
Now it’s time to talk about the subject that matters the most. How much will you get paid? Of course, you’ve probably had this talk with your employer beforehand. All you need to do is confirm that the contract states the exact amount you’ve agreed to. Moreover, you also want to clarify your payment details and how often you’re going to get paid.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t forget about the bonuses. Check whether the contract states that it depends upon commission or based on performance. As for benefits, it should contain all information regarding company coverage such as healthcare, pension, car, and equity options. You’ll also want to check if the incentives are written relatively.
Meanwhile, some contracts require employees who resign from their jobs to give up any rights over future claims against the company, such as unfair dismissal cases. You might understand that they’re just trying to protect their best interests, but what about yours? If you care about your rights and your future, it should be something that you need to clear up before signing.
Holidays and Sick Leaves
In the contract, check what holidays the company honors and if you’re okay with that. Some employers allow you to work on holidays and take the day off some other day during the week. Others don’t even let you take time off on important events like Christmas and New Year. This is common in environments like hospitals that need to run 24/7 throughout the year. Sick leaves should also be discussed, and what benefits can you get by not spending your leave credits.
Most contracts will demand you not to work for a competitor for a set amount of time after resigning. This can be viable depending on where you live. Some states don’t allow a non-compete at all! Make sure to do your research regarding your state laws. But oftentimes, a non-complete clause is just a scare tactic by employers to prevent their competition from gaining manpower and advantage. Most of them won’t probably hold it in court. It’s not worth the money and time to chase one employee.
About Side Hustles
There’s no doubt that living costs are getting more expensive. It’s entirely understandable for someone to work two to three jobs at a time. However, most companies fear that this leads to unproductivity and poor performance. That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised if your contract obliges you to work only for the said company. It might sound dominative, but you wouldn’t want to recklessly contest this term and risk losing the job offer. The best course of action would be to try and explain to your employer if you can take another side job as long as there’s no conflict of interest.
Negotiating a job offer should be in every responsible employee’s mind. Yes, scribbling a signature sounds easier than scrutinizing through the entire document. However, keep in mind that it’s your rights, comfort, and privileges that are at stake here. Do you want to skip the boring part and regret it later on? Or would you rather take the time to ensure that you’ll be treated fairly and square? Only you can answer these questions.