Employment Contracts



Before starting your job, you will be required to sign a number of paper documents, including your Employment Contract. This is a legally enforceable contract, so you should be careful before you sign. 

According to Graduate Land, these are some key things you should look out for:

(1) Job title and job description

  • Ensure it is precise enough to show you what your role will actually do
  • If this isn't precise, you might find yourself doing things you can't or don't want to do
  • Ensure that the description matches your expectation with the job title 

(2) Bonus and Salary

  • Feel confortable to ask how much you are being paid, and check whether it matches the salary advertised. FInd out more about salary negotiations here
  • Enquire about rate of payment if it is not stated in the contract (i.e. monthly/annually) 
  • Look out for additional schemes and whether they apply to you, e.g. annual bonuses, health insurance, gym memberships, etc

(3) Terms of Terminations

  • Sometimes, employers try and bamboozle us with jargon to give them the most flexibility when it comes to this. Some words to look out for include:
    • "without cause": You can be terminated at any time, without notice and without reason
    • "just cause": You can be terminated if you've broken some rules or have not delivered what you had promised or have resigned your post (this is the best thing to have as part of your contract)
    • "sole discretion": Your employer can terminate your employment with them without talking to you first
  • Don't be afraid to ask the HR Department for clarification if you aren't sure

(4) Start Dates and Contract Lengths:

  • These need to be clearly stated 
  • Your notice period is how far in advance you would need to tell them you wanted to quit, or how much notice they would need to give you if they were to fire you
  • If you are on a Fixed-Term Contract (a year, for example), keep an eye out for the date they are expecting you to stop working
    • At this stage, you can also  ask what the likelihood is of this period being extended
  • Announce any periods of absence already known before starting the job

(5) Working hours 

  • See if you have fixed hours or any flexibility 
  • Check whether you will need to work weekends or evenings, and if so, will you get paid for this
  • Lots of places don't have paid overtime, but a time-off in leui policy (TOIL), which means you get your hours back on another day
  • Be mindful of your work-life balance when agreeing to a contract, this is important for your health and wellbeing

(7) Restrictive clauses

  • These are clauses which employers put in place for when you no longer work for them,  establishing how you can interact with clients or businesses in order to protect your employer’s business, its clients and other employers
  • They generally come in four ways, and your contract could have none, a couple, or all of them - so keep an eye out for them when you are reading the contract over:
    • Non-Competition: limit you to work for a competitor of your former employer
    • Non-Solicitation: prevent you from poaching clients and suppliers of your former employer
    • Non-Dealing: prevent former employees from dealing with former customers and suppliers
    • Non-Poaching: prevent former employees from poaching former colleagues 
  • It is important to be aware of these, as they could affect future jobs. If you want a career in the field, it therefore might be a good idea to consider the progression opportunities at your prospective employer, to ensure it  offers everything you want  that doesn’t break these clauses 


Always ask if you are unsure about any aspect of a contract before signing. Do not feel pressured to sign anything that does not meet your approval, and if there is anything an employer can do to make a position more accessible you are entitled to disclose your disability to ensure this. 

For further advice you can contact the Careers Development Service.

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