In your state, you are required to confirm you wish to access this information. Please enter 'QLD' or 'WA' in the field below to continue.

No thanks

Safeguard your employment: Six simple checks when signing your contract

man-reading-contract

Christie Toy Written by:
Christie Toy
Senior Solicitor, Employment Law & Workplace Relations

You’ve finally landed that new, high paying job of your dreams. You’re about to sign on the dotted line, but are you sure it’s going to deliver all it promises? We spend more than a third of our lives at work, so when you accept your employment contract, it’s important to know exactly what you are signing up for.

Shine Lawyers’ Employment Law expert Christie Toy highlights six key things to look for when signing your next employment contract:

1) Bonuses

If you have agreed to a bonus when taking the job, make sure this is properly documented in the contract. Check the wording of the clause in the contract to make sure it is binding, and forms part of your contract. If the clause uses wording such as ‘at the ultimate discretion of’ your employer, this is good indication the clause does not form part of your contract and you may need to raise this with your new employer.

2) Parental leave

Under the National Employment Standards, an employee with the care or responsibility of a child is entitled to up to one year off work on an unpaid basis if they have worked for 12 months. This also includes long term casuals. Your employer cannot make you serve a longer period before allowing you to have this time off, so it is important your contract reflects this.

3) Award coverage

If you are covered by a modern award but receive a salary under an employment contract, many employees wrongly believe the modern award no longer applies.

Don’t be fooled; if you receive a salary or believe you are entitled to other conditions in the award, you should check over the award to see if this is the case. An employer cannot undercut your award protections by placing you on a salary.

4) Being demoted

Check carefully for any clause in your contract that gives your employer the sole ability to change terms or conditions of your contract, such as your duties, pay, seniority, or location of work.

As a general rule, an employer cannot change the terms and conditions of your contract without your consent. If you have consented to changes, this precludes you from later arguing that you were unfairly demoted.

woman-signing-contract

5) Notice of termination

You should always check what period of notice you need to give if you resign, and how much notice your employer needs to give you if you are dismissed.

An employer cannot provide you less notice than what is required under the National Employment Standards. However, you can always bargain with your employer for more notice of termination as an extra protection.

6) Restraint of trade

Always look to see if the employer has put in a restraint of trade clause into your contract, as this may impact your ability to obtain later employment in the same industry.

Shine Lawyers – Employment Law specialists

Contracts of employment are not always easy to interpret, and can give rise to a multitude of issues if things don’t go to plan. If you have any questions about the clauses in your contract, seek legal advice from an employment law expert. It might save you some drama in the long run.

Click here for more employment law and workplace relations news.

Written by Christie Toy on . Last modified: September 6, 2017.

Join the discussion

Share this article:

There are 0 comments. Be the first!

Fruit pickers, take note

Come harvest time, most Australian farmers are desperate for good workers.  For backpackers fruit picking is a relatively easy job to secure between December and July, but the work itself is far from a walk in the park.  Days are long, with repetitive and physically demanding tasks in very hot and humid conditions. Backpackers, know […]

Read more

Don’t let redundancy ruin your Christmas

With just under two months until Christmas, an unfortunate reality is that this time can bring uncertainty around the security of your employment. Big and small businesses sometimes approach this time of year as a time to reduce costs and people headcounts, looking to start the year fresh. The festive season often sees a spike […]

Read more

Mental health in the workplace: Australian Federal Police officers speak out

Members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have recently started to stand up and speak out. Tales of inadequate institutional support for workplace bullying and mental health issues are coming forward. Almost 100 officers both past and present have spoken out on what has been called the AFP’s “disturbing bullying culture”. With incidents of workplace […]

Read more

Gender Pay Gap – Why does it still exist?

Enough with the quotas and the equality policies, why is the gender pay gap still a “thing” in 2017? There are some who deny the gender pay gap exists but as it turns out we have all been eye witnesses to it. Every week day morning. For a decade. What exactly does Karl Stefanovic have […]

Read more

Call Us Now

Our friendly consultants are available to talk Monday to Friday, 8:15am to 6:00pm AEST.

1800 618 851

Live Chat

Chat with Shine Lawyers through the livechat system without leaving your computer. No downloading, completely private and best of all - its easy to use.

Start a live chat now

Enquire Now

Enquire now