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If you are looking for advice on your employment contract or service agreement, please get in touch with us on 01483 303636 to discuss your situation and how we can help.
When should I receive my employment contract?
Ideally, you will have been given a contact of employment before you start work, but the legal requirement is that you are given your employment contract on your first day of work.
I have already signed my employment contract, can you still advise me?
Yes, we can still advise you on your employment contract, even if you have already signed it. If your employment contract contains post-termination restrictions (restrictive covenants), you will want to understand what they mean and whether they are likely to be enforceable.
Are there any specific clauses I should be looking out for in my employment contract?
As well as key terms, such as your salary and holiday entitlement, there are other less obvious terms, which you should be aware of.
Probationary period: If your contract provides for a probationary period, your employer may be able to dismiss you with less notice during this time. This can put you in a potentially vulnerable position. It is therefore important to
understand how long the probationary period will last and whether your employer can extend it. We can advise you on the effect of a probationary period and what we would consider to be reasonable in the circumstances.
Benefits: If you are being offered a benefits package on top of your salary, such as health insurance, it is important to understand how much discretion your employer has over the level of benefit they provide and whether they are able to change or even discontinue the benefit in the future.
Sick pay: England and Wales have one of the lowest levels of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in Europe – as at January 2022 it is just £96.53 per week and it only kicks in once an employee has been off sick for four days in a row. If your employer is going to pay more than the SSP, this should be set out in your employment contract.
Notice: Whilst it is important to check how much notice your employer would need to give if they were to dismiss you, it is just as important to check how much notice you would need to give your employer if you were to resign. You are more likely to resign (than be dismissed) and a lengthy notice period could make it difficult to secure another role.
Bonus: If you are expecting a bonus, you should check how the bonus scheme will work in practice. In particular, how it is calculated, whether your employer has the discretion not to pay out and whether you would still be entitled to the bonus if you were to leave.
Post-termination restrictions: You should understand whether your employment contract contains any terms which could make finding your next job more difficult, such as restrictions on working for a competitor. Securing your next role may not be at the forefront of your mind at this stage, but it is helpful to understand what you are agreeing to at the outset.