Finally, after weeks or maybe even months, you’ve got your new employment contract in your hot little hands. Before you sign on the dotted line and pop the Champagne, make sure you know and understand the ins-and-outs of what you’re signing.
An Employment contract is usually pretty standard, but you always need to read through them thoroughly. With a lot of information to process, be sure to pay extra attention to these 6 key areas.
1. Remuneration Details
Check that the details are what you’re expecting. Will you be paid a base plus superannuation or a salary package? If it’s the latter, to work out what your take home pay is, you’ll need to take out 9.5% (the current superannuation rate). If you are covered by an award, check that any leave loading or allowances are detailed in your contract.
2. Probation Period
A probation period is usually three or six months. It provides both you and the company an opportunity to try-on each other. During a probation period, you will have a shorter termination period. You should know how long your probation period is.
3. Leave Entitlements
The National Employment Standard sets out minimum annual leave and personal leave entitlements. They are 20 days annual leave and 10 days personal leave for any full-time, permanent position, with permanent part-time positions pro-rata. Of course, a company can offer more, but must offer this as a minimum.
In Australia, leave entitlements accrue (usually each month) so it will take some time to accrue holiday/sick leave. If you do have a holiday planned and haven’t discussed it with your new employer yet, now would be the time to let them know.
4. Termination Period
This is how much notice you or the company must give to terminate the employment arrangement. This can vary widely depending on the role you’re taking on. The average is two to four weeks with senior roles extending up to three months.
Often, during a probation period, the termination period will be less. Companies recognise this is the time everyone’s getting to know each other and determining if it’s going to work out.
A post-employment restraint is a restriction on what you can and can’t do when you leave.
It can be hard to think about leaving a potential new employer before you’ve even started, but you need to. Most employment contracts will have a restraint – the specific details which will depend on the role you are taking.
When considering a restraint, consider how it will impact your ability to find a new job in the future.
6. Anything You Don’t Understand
While an employment contract is a legal document, it should be easy to understand. If there is anything you don’t understand, always ask.
Your employment contract is an important document in the working relationship between you and your new employer. Be sure to check any fine print and consider what it means to you now and over your entire working relationship.
Once you’re happy and confident with your contract and any questions have been addressed, sign on the dotted line, take a deep breath and start getting ready to settle into your new job!