man signing a contract

Do you fully understand the ramifications of an enforceable non-compete agreement under California state law? What recourse do you have in cases of unfair dismissal? These are essential questions, and to know the answers and how they apply to your employment, you need to understand your employment contract very well, before you sign the document with your employer.

So, if you’re hunting for a new job, or concerned about your current employment contract, in this article, we go over a couple of important things you have to consider before signing an employment contract so you won’t have reasons to regret later.

Make Certain Information About You

When signing an employment contract, one’s immediate concern is what it stipulates regarding your employer’s responsibilities towards you. However, it is perhaps more important to understand what the contract says about your responsibility towards your employer.

Many contracts have additional clauses regarding working hours, weekends, and public holidays. Depending on the industry in which you are employed, some such provisions may not be enforceable. If they are, that could give your employer the right to change your working hours without prior notice or consent.

There are other potential issues as well. For example, the contract can hold clauses that tie your agreed-upon wages to performance incentives, meaning you need to perform at a certain level before getting your real agreed-upon salary.

Carefully go over every detail regarding your responsibilities toward your employer and how those responsibilities get enforced. Preferably, you should seek the assistance of a lawyer to guide you through the contract.

If Things Go South

When one starts a new job, you do not focus on what might happen the day that you and your employer part ways. Instead, you hope that when, or if that happens, it will be an amicable parting of ways. But unfortunately, statistics suggest otherwise.

Depending on your departure from an employer’s employ, things can get ugly quickly. Your employment contract can inform how things go down, depending on the reason. Your contract could bind you to legal obligations towards the company in certain circumstances.

Your contract could include clauses that impose penalties on you for specific actions that may lead to dismissal. For example, some companies have a clause in their contract which gives the company the right to dismiss an employee for falling asleep at work.

The contract could also include a clause that penalizes the action with disciplinary action, and the two could overlap.

Bonuses, Salary Adjustments, And Increases

Money is unarguably an essential factor to consider as you go through your employment contract. Your contract should indicate your starting salary. It should also indicate the rates you would get paid for overtime and the circumstances in which you must work overtime.

Another thing that should get laid out in your contract is any bonuses. Businesses tend to play fast and lose with employee bonuses. They change their policies regarding bonuses frequently and rarely to the advantage of the employee.

Without a clear statement of how bonuses work, how much you will get paid, and how often, you might not have any recourse if the company changes the criteria for eligibility or consoles your bonus all together.

Finally, your contract needs to be very clear regarding yearly and other income increases. Make sure that annual increases don’t tie to performance appraisals. If they are, speak to your employer and determine how much performance appraisals get carried out, what the criteria are, and how objective they are.


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