It can often be exciting when being offered a new job. But before you sign an employment contract, it is important to know what you are signing and whether or not this is appropriate for you. Knowing a bit more about employment contracts will help you decide whether what an employer is offering is something that you should accept.
People often make jokes about silly job titles like “office ninja” or “marketing wizard.” When it comes to your contract, the title and description of your employment is important, as it indicates what your role is, your expected duties and equally what you should not be expected to do, something that could be crucial if you ever face an employment tribunal.
It sounds obvious but are you being paid what you asked for? A contract should indicate what you are paid, how and when, as well as indicating any bonuses. A bonus can be either guaranteed (such as additional payment for staying with the business for a set period of time) or discretionary (the employer does not specify in advance about the bonus.)
There are valid reasons that a company can terminate a contract, such as inappropriate behaviour or financial misconduct. In some cases, the company may include the term “sole discretion.”
Sole discretion means that they can decide on an almost arbitrary basis how and when to terminate your contract, without having to talk with you beforehand. It is best to check this, as ideally there should be more of a process before an employer “fires” someone.
Furthermore, there should be a clear indication of the length of employment and a clause regarding notice- for example, during the first five months of a probationary period this could be a week, and after that first five months that could extend to three weeks.
Holidays and sick leave
The terms regarding holidays can vary. For example, some companies may have a set holiday period where there is a company-wide holiday period, such as a week over Christmas. In other cases, you may have a specific amount of holiday that can only be taken at certain points.
With regard to calling in sick, some may have strict rules regarding when you call in and may expect a doctor’s note after a certain period of time (around a week). Additionally, some may ask for a meeting before you return to work in order to gauge whether you are ready to return to work.
There are some additional clauses to look out for in your contract. There may be a set period where you cannot work for a competitor (often around six months to a year), or you may be prevented from taking clients if you decide to become self-employed.
Talk to us
If you are concerned about a new employment contract, or if you are unsure about its wording, please contact Larcomes today. Our specialist representatives can check to ensure that your contract is fair and you know what you are signing up for. Our motto has always been big enough to specialise, small enough to care, so you know that we have the resources to help you get the most from your contract.