Top 6 mistakes made by employees when signing up to new employment contracts

Employment contracts are almost always written by employers and are therefore employer-friendly. As an incoming member of staff, you are doing business on their terms, so to speak.

Here, Zainab Hakim from Jones Chase explains the top 6 mistakes we see employees make when it comes to signing up to their new employment contract when joining a company:

1. Failing to read their employment contract before signing on the dotted line – this is surprisingly common!

2. Believing that everything is a done deal – it often isn’t. Employees commonly view employment contracts as take-it-or-leave-it offers and assume that they have no scope to negotiate. While the bargaining position of each employee is different, there is nothing preventing you from negotiating terms of employment that may be more advantageous to you. This is particularly relevant when it comes to complex bonus provisions or post-termination restrictions.

3. Not checking to see if any company policies are contractual – Beware, you may have important contractual terms in other documents.
4. Accepting post-employment obligations which go too far – when you are starting a new job, the last thing you will be thinking about is your exit. Post-termination restrictions may catch you out when you decide to move on. Having these terms professionally reviewed will ensure you know what you are getting into from the start.

5. Bonus, benefits and commission clauses – Are these included in your employment contract, and do they reflect the offer which has been made to you? Large bonus payments may be promised at the interview stage but, in the contract, they may be stated to be discretionary and riddled with conditions. For example, your employer could be able to withhold benefits, bonus and commission in certain circumstances.

6. Not taking legal advice when signing up to a new contract – employees often come to us on termination or when a problem arises, sometimes years after they have accepted and worked under their contractual terms. Knowing what you are getting into from the outset and otherwise making changes, is a good way of avoiding a future problem.
How can we help? – our Contract Healthcheck Service.
Given the inherent value for employers and employees alike placed in the employment contract, we have always been of the view that care should be taken and we are keen to help our clients get it right. Our team are highly skilled in performing speedy contract reviews and advising on the terms, often for under an hour’s work. We can also help you with negotiations for better terms.
This service applies to both employers and employees and please drop us a line at / 0203 837 9914 if you are interested in our
“Contract Healthcheck Service”. We would be delighted to assist you.

About the firm

Jones Chase is a specialist employment law firm based in the centre of London with an excellent track record of looking after those that we assist.

We fundamentally believe in helping both businesses and people with all their employment law needs.

Feel free to contact us should you require further information or need any assistance. We are always happy to speak to people and point them in the right direction.