So, a well-established company has offered you a nice employment contract. The numbers seem alright, which means, you only need to skim through to the contract, give your John Hancock and start celebrating with your friends, right?
Before you put your signature on a contract, you have to carefully read every word and try to understand it. You’ll probably need to familiarize yourself with the employment laws in your country in order to review it properly.
Luckily, these days you don’t even need to hire a lawyer to go through the contract if you want to ensure that everything’s in order. In fact, you can easily get some free employment law advice online that will help you review the contract.
See what Your Compensation is
In addition to asking about your base pay, you need to ask a few more additional questions. For instance, you should know who decides whether or not you’re meeting the criteria for various performance-based bonuses. Plus, see if the bonuses are changeable or guaranteed. You don’t to work for someone that doesn’t have these established and that could change the rules on a whim…
Carefully look at the Job Description
By signing this contract, you’re agreeing to be locked in this job for a few months or even years. While this may sound silly, it’s the reality – if you’re singing a multi-year contract, make sure that it’s the job you originally thought it is. You should have your role and title clearly written on the contract – plus – the contract should say what’s exactly expected from you.
What about Intellectual Property
Some employers can make a claim to the fruits of your creative labor – even if you’ve worked outside of the office and work hours. That means, if you invent something during the employment, your intellectual property may actually belong to your employer. So if you’re currently working on something, you may look into this, point out your invention and carve it out of the contract.
Look for Post-Employment Restrictions
Always look for any post-employment restrictions in the contracts you’re signing. In some situations, the employer will ask you tossing an agreement that bans you from working with the company’s competitors for a considerable period of time. This will make you almost unemployable in the future. While courts don’t look particularly kindly to these contracts, you should avoid it in the first place.
The Bottom Line
Can a single employee really challenge the terms of his contract? Simply put – yes, he definitely can. Most reputable companies will probably respect you even more if you take your time to go through your contract carefully and thoroughly.
In most situations, asking about the things you don’t completely understand is well worth your effort. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list by any means necessary. Employment laws vary from state to state and county to county. Therefore, make sure to consult a professional before you do anything.