Some employers require employees to sign a contract before they’re allowed to start working. These contracts are often comprehensive documents that outline the duties and responsibilities for both parties.
If you’re asked to sign an employment contract, you must ensure that you review the documentation provided before you sign anything. There are a few points that you should pay close attention to during your review.
Essential points in a basic contract
While there are many different components that might be included in an employment contract, these are some of the more basic ones to check as you review the contract:
- Job description: This section should clearly outline your roles and responsibilities, including any specific tasks or goals. It gives clarity to your job function and guards against any unexpected tasks beyond your professional capability.
- Term of employment: The duration of your employment should be explicitly mentioned. Whether it’s an indefinite period, fixed term or project-based contract, ensure you understand when your employment begins and ends.
- Compensation: Your pay structure should be explicitly stated, including base salary, bonuses, allowances and overtime rates if applicable. It should also specify the pay cycle, such as weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
- Benefits and perks: This clause provides information about benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, vacation and sick leave policies. It might also mention any company-specific perks like gym memberships or educational reimbursements.
- Confidentiality and non-compete clauses: These sections protect the company’s sensitive information. Ensure you understand the boundaries set forth for sharing professional information during and post-employment. Non-compete clauses restrict you from working with competitors for a certain period after leaving the job, potentially limiting future employment opportunities.
- Termination: Details surrounding termination, including notice periods, severance pay and grounds for immediate dismissal, should be clear to protect your interests.
- Dispute resolution: This section specifies the course of action in case of disagreements or legal disputes, including options for mediation or arbitration.
An employment contract is a legally binding document, so be sure you have a complete understanding before signing. Remember, this is an essential step in asserting your workplace rights.