When you have accepted a job offer from an employer, the first thing you should do is to review the employment contract. It's important to read the contract carefully and fully understand it before you sign.
The contents of the employement contract is regulated by law and as such there is no room for discretion on either side. These documents also helps set out in writing what both parties' responsibilities are and what are the procedures if a dispute arises.
What is an employment contract?
An employment contract is a binding agreement between an employer and an employee that outlines the terms of their working relationship. All employers are required to offer you an employment contract before hiring you, unless they are an exempt employer (and even then they must offer you one if your employment lasts more than 3 months). The employment contract both defines your rights and obligations, and the rights and obligations of the employer. It is important to understand that the employment contract regulates these aspects not only when the employment starts but also throughout its duration.
When can an employment contract be terminated?
An employment contract can be terminated in several ways: either by its cancellation or expiration (the expiry date is stated in the contract) or by mutual consent of the parties or dismissal.
What to check for in an employment contract
There are several things you need to go through and check for in your employment contract. It is vital for employees to study the details of a contract and ask for guarantees that protect their interests.
Here are the top things:
- The job description and your responsibilities
- The salary, benefits and/or commission structure
- Terms of employment/Period of employment
- Leave days and how it works
The basic guarantee is the salary, which must be paid by the employer on payday. The amount of salary should not be delayed or reduced. The employee can ask the court to order payment if it is late or not paid at all.
The first thing to check is that you are comfortable with the duration of the contract. Is there some sort of probation period? Is it essential for you to be able to leave on short notice? In principle, you want a long term contract. If you're going to spend a lot of time at your job, you want that job to last for as long as possible.
An employment contract is not a friendship or personal relationship. It does not have to be a marriage or partnership, but it must stand on business principles as well as sound personal dealings.