By Lilian Wamaitha
Congratualtions on applying for that job and nailing the interview. Now that you have gotten the offer, what’s next?
You employer has probably given you an employment contract that you are supposed to sign.
While reading through an employment contract may be the last thing on your mind, after all you can’t wait to get started on that job, it is an essential thing that you must do before you break into a victory dance yet.
“The employment document is very important as it is legally binding and can be used a s a point of reference by both the employer and the employee,”says Muthoni Ndegwa, a recruitment manager at a leading firm.
Keeping in mind how many times we see employers and employees sue each other because of this very same document, don’t you think that you owe it to yourself to at least know what is in yours?
Here are things that every employemnet contract should have
1. A job title and description that clearly states your responsibilities
An employment contract should clearly define your role and responsibilities that your employer will task you with. These should be specific and should match the job description for which you applied.
Don’t sign an employment contract that has other duties that are outside what you agreed on during the interview.
It’s better if these additional roles come later, of which you will sign another contract after the employer gives you a new job description with the additional roles.
In a case where you have not clearly read the contract, you will not really have a choice but to do whatever your boss asks you to.
2. It should also indicate the salary and bonuses
Make sure that the salary indicated is the one you negotiated for. You should know how and when you will be paid.
This section can also include additional incentives like bonuses, health benefits, and travel expense reimbursements. It should be clearly stipulated how and in which cases you can receive these.
In some cases, this part of the contract should clearly indicate after how long you are liable for a pay rise and under what conditions you are liable for a promotion.
3. It should state the start date and notice period
Your employment contract should clearly state when you are to begin work. It shoudl also indicate the notice period you are expected to give in a case in case you want to resign.
Besides you as the mployer, this part of the contract is also very important to the employer.
Be very careful when reading this part to make sure that it does not have any restrictive clauses that will bar you from seeking employment from competitor companies for a certain period of time.
4. When your job can be terminated
I have received so many emails from peiple who were fired with notice.
This part of the contract that indicates when your job may be terminated is perharps the most important of all.
It will determine the stability of your job and give you bargaining power in a case where you are unfairly fired.
The reasons the employer can give if they want to terminate the contract are reflected in terms of termination.
You should also be careful if you find the term ‘sole discretion’ written in this section.
This term can mean that your employer can decide to fire you without talking to you first . This eliminates any possibility for discussion, notification or compromise.
Must Read >>> Kenyan Labour Laws On Termination Of Employment
5. It should clearly stipulate your working hours
Just like when you are to begin work, your employer should also specify the number of hours he/she is expecting from you.
Always check before hand whether you are expected to work on weekends or public holidays and if you are, is there overtime payment for that?
In some cases instead of being paid for overtime, these hours can be converted into days off or holidays. You need to be clear on company policy and be prepared to negotiate.
So there you have it, when you land that job, the first thing you should pay attention to most is the employement contract. It should stipulate everything i have discussed and always ensure that you seek clarity where you don’t understand.
Lilian is a Communication Officer at Career Point Kenya. If you have any career related queries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org