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Things to Consider Before Signing a Job Contract

Congratulations! Your job search has finally paid off and you have received your brand-new job contract. But your hard work hasn’t finished yet – you need to carefully examine your employment contract before you sign the dotted line. It’s crucial that you have a clear understanding with your employer before entering into a new job, so ensure that you read over your roles, responsibilities and the terms of employment before signing.

To help you begin your new role, we’ve put together a few things you should double check before signing a new contract.

Job title & responsibilities

It may sound obvious, but you should review your new job title and duties as outlined in your contract of employment. Your responsibilities should match those in the job description, so if you notice any discrepancies you should discuss this with your manager prior to signing the contract.

Salary & start date

One of the first (and arguably the most important) things an employer will discuss with you is your salary. If you’re unsure about the figure that has been presented to you, research the current pay rates within your industry by searching for similar roles on local job boards. Ensure that you’re clear on overtime rates and the other agreed benefits associated with your new role, such as health insurance and pension schemes.

If you’re leaving one employer to work for another, it’s crucial that you make sure that your new start date doesn’t clash with your previous contract. Make sure that you give enough notice in your previous job before committing to a new role.

Hours & location employment

Make sure that the hours of employment are the same as what you discussed when accepting the role. If you’re unsure about the hours outlined or you’re unhappy with them, contact your manager to seek clarification before signing. Some contracts can have a clause that obliges employees to ‘undertake hours as necessary to complete the assigned tasks’ – this can mean that an employer may expect you to work additional hours outside of your contract. If a similar clause is present in your contract, consider discussing this with your manager to clarify what may be expected of you.

Remember to double check the office location, and if your role is field-based or involves an element of travel, ensure that the description of travel requirements and remuneration packages meet your expectations.

Holidays and sick leave

Everyone needs a break once in a while. Before signing, check how many days holiday you’re entitled to, when it runs from/to, and if you can roll over any unused days to the following term. Some employers will place restrictions around your holiday entitlement. For example, an employer may require you to use annual leave during the Christmas period when the office closes, or they may not approve holidays during particularly busy periods of the year. So it’s best to ensure that you’re aware of the ins and outs of your holiday entitlement, lest you get a nasty surprise after booking a family holiday!

Sick pay entitlement varies from job to job in Northern Ireland. Your employer may offer a ‘company sick pay’ scheme within your contract. For more information on sick pay entitlement laws within Northern Ireland, visit NI Direct.

Don’t be shy about asking your manager to read over your new employment contract with you if you’re unsure or unhappy with any of the details. Your new employer should be happy to answer questions and offer amendments to the contract if necessary. If you’ve received your job offer through Happy Jobs NI, we’re here to answer any questions about your new contract you may have, too.

Still haven’t found the perfect role for you? Let us help! You can browse all of our current vacancies using the button below, or you can contact us on 028 9099 5808 to discuss your options.


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