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Your employment contract: What it should contain

Whenever you sign an employment contract, you need to make sure that it contains all the proper elements to define your job. Remember, while your contract can offer you protection from things like a firing without warning, giving you security. It also tells you your obligations and shows what the company must do for you in turn. Never take this lightly or assume you know what a contract offers without reading it.

Here are a few things a contract should outline:

  • The compensation you get, whether it is hourly pay or a simple salary
  • The benefits that go along with that compensation
  • The hours that you are expected to work, including how many hours and when you have to work
  • How you can get time off, whether it is for vacation or due to illness
  • What special rules you need to follow at the company
  • What process can lead to a termination of your job
  • Exactly what tasks and duties you are expected to do in the course of your employment
  • What type of employee you are and how you are classified for tax purposes
  • What company secrets you need to keep and what you can do with confidential information
  • Whether or not you're allowed to work for a similar company when leaving your position
  • The total length of the contract (whether it lasts for a single year or is open-ended) and whether it is subject to renewal

These are just a few examples, but they help to show why it's important to go over a contract carefully and really understand the legal side of the documents that you decide to sign.

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