5 things to check before signing your new employment contract

Don’t let your elation at that new job offer prevent you from reading over your new employment contract thoroughly.

Before signing on the dotted line, it’s important to make sure that your new contract of employment matches up with your expectations.  It may seem boring, but thoroughly reading your new contract can throw up all kinds of queries that you hadn’t thought of before, and it’s best to get these details ironed about before signing your life away to avoid disappointment later down the line.

Here are five key areas to pay specific attention to when checking over your new contract:

Job description

You may think that after your interview you have a good idea what your new role will entail, but it’s best to check that this is reflected in the job description in your contract.  If the job description is vague this makes things more flexible for new employer, and you could find yourself lumped with tasks that you hadn’t expected to spend your days on.  Check that your job description doesn’t include extra responsibilities that you weren’t aware of.

Cause of termination

This section is very important to your job security as it outlines the reasons that your employer can use to terminate your contract.  You want to ensure that the reasons given are clear and reasonable, and that by signing the contract you’re not agreeing for them to let you go at any given moment.

Look out for the term ‘sole discretion’ in this section of your contract as this can give your employer the ability to fire you without any discussion or notification.

Pay, bonuses and benefits

Make sure that the details in this section reflect the information given in your offer letter.  You should also ensure that benefits such as enhanced pension, car, health, and commission are all covered too.  If there is a bonus up for grabs, check whether it is guaranteed or discretionary.

Working hours

Your contract should state clearly what hours you will be required to work and how you will be paid for them.  As well as your standard hours, you may be required to work overtime, evenings or weekends.

If there is a chance that you will be required to work extra hours you should check:

  • Whether overtime is paid.
  • Whether it is paid with your wage or given as time-in-lieu.
  • The rate for overtime.
  • When it is paid.

Restrictive clauses

Restrictive clauses take effect after you have left a business.  There are four types of restrictive clause and it’s important that you understand them, as they can restrict your future employment options. The four types of clause are:

  • Non-competition – limits you working for competitors.
  • Non-solicitation – prevents you poaching clients and suppliers.
  • Non-dealing – prevents you dealing with customers and suppliers.
  • Non-poaching – prevents you poaching employees.

If your contract features any restrictive clauses, be sure that you fully understand how they will affect you once you leave the business before you sign the contract.

These are the five key areas of your contract that you should take specific care reading, but by no means should you skim over the rest.  Having a clear understanding of the company that you’re joining and the work that you will be carrying out before you start your new job will avoid any nasty surprises later down the line.

For further help and advice regarding employment law, give the experts at Mark Reynolds Solicitors a call on 0800 002 9577.