When it comes to your work experience level and subsequent industry, your next job offer may come with a specified employment contract that you’re asked to sign. While your prospective employer might pass it off as a written agreement, you never want to assume it says what you think it says and sign it without reading through the details.
What is most important is making sure that you’ve taken the time to give all the written items a thorough review and if you are in doubt, make sure to have an attorney weigh in as well.
Here are some important things to take into consideration that might appear in an employment contract.
Is it really a contract?
For every job offer, you can expect a summary of applicable terms, including how much money you’ll make, when you get paid, the bonus structure but keep in mind that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a contract. A contract is a written agreement that has a specified beginning and end date and may also include provisions relating to termination.
The general rule is that whatever is not included in writing gives the employer the upper hand when it comes to you being forced out. This means that an employer can fire you at any time for any reason.
Be In The Know Regarding Your State Laws
Before getting into the employment contract line by line, you’ll need to know which state governs your agreement. Do some research to understand how state laws might dictate the terms of your contract.
The Length of the Employment Contract
Contracts always have a specified set of dates. However, you should be aware of what will happen when the term ends. Some employers might have auto renewal provisions. If your contract automatically renews, be aware that if you wish to renegotiate anything, you should start that discussion before the term expires.
Some employees have a contract that dictates the specific ways that they can be terminated.
You want to avoid any situation surrounding automatic termination clauses. Look for language that specifies that both parties must give 60 days’ notice before terminating the contract.
About The Bucks
The good news is that your hourly rate or base salary and when you get paid is usually straightforward. However, once you get into signing bonuses and commission, things can get confusing. Make sure to confirm what happens to outstanding bonuses and commissions if you end up leaving the job.
Your Side Hustle
If you do side work outside of your new position, be sure to see if there are any restrictions on outside work within your contract. “
The Non-Compete Clause
Many contracts contain a non-compete clause, which says that if you leave the job, you can’t go work for a competitor for a set amount of time. This is one area in which state law can come into play regardless of what the contract says.
Another employment contract provision to look out for is to see if there is any information regarding what happens to your contract if the company is acquired or sold. Plain and simple.
Negotiate Your Compensation Package Before You Sign
No matter what an employment contract looks like when you initially receive it, you have the right to request changes that are essential before signing the dotted line. Most employers expect that you will do this. Take the time you need to make sure your needs are being met.
In the long run, don’t get caught up in the excitement of a new job opportunity and end up not reviewing all the paperwork for your contractual agreement. Be smart by doing your research, keeping yourself informed and asking for what you truly deserve!