5 Things To Check Before You Sign A New Employment Contract

Approximately 32.5 million people were employed in the United Kingdom in the three months to November 2021, which was more than 2020.

Fewer than half of all employees read the small print before signing their signature to accept a job. Many people expect it’ll be standard wording and if there was something wrong it’d stand out.

1. Job title and description

The contract needs to reflect the role, make sure your contract isn’t too limited or too general. 

A very broad description gives the employer chance to add extra things into your workload that you hadn’t originally discussed.

These could add hurdles to your progression and development in the way you originally wanted to.

Aim to have nothing in the description or title which could be limiting you.

2. Salary, benefits, and bonuses

Salary should be the one you negotiated, check when you’ll be paid to match up with other expenses such as monthly bills.

Your contract should contain details for agreed remuneration, This includes pension, car insurance, private health care, expenses, etc. If your salary depends on performance make sure you know what targets are expected and the future if you exceed these consequences.

3. Hours and location of work

Hours in the contract are what you’re expecting to work and be happy to accept them.

Check the policy on overtime, look for the ‘will be expected to work the necessary hours to complete the tasks assigned’ clause. This means your employer can expect early starts and late finishes as standard, without extra pay.

If any of this doesn’t suit you, seek clarification when accepting the offer or ideally in writing.

4. Holidays, sick leave, and death in service

Check your holiday entitlement and if you can roll over any hours to next year, this also should include restrictions around holidays.

There most likely will be a cap on the number of hours you can take off at each time and will insist to spread this across the year.

Sick leave is normally subject to your local law, how you inform them of this needs to be included in the contract. 

Sick leave or death in service may impact areas of your agreement such as termination, working hours, and notice period so going over these important details is equally as important.

5. Restrictive clauses and covenants

It’s easy to brush over boring legal sections but they will catch up with you in the future.

Carefully read the details of any policies, restrictive clauses, and rights. Restrictive clauses often take place after the termination of employment and are important as they protect the business, its clients, and other employees.

For example – A company may prohibit you from working with a competitor for a certain amount of time after leaving that role.

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