By Peter Kamuri
One of the main reasons most employees fall out with their employers is because they sign up lopsided contracts. This might be the reason we are experiencing several instances of industrial action, as workers feel short-changed.
The prospects of being hired should not make onelose sight of the need to be careful before signing any contractual documents.
When an employee signs an agreement, it confers on him or her both rights and responsibilities that must be clear from the outset.
An employment agreement or contract that is fair is one that is mutually acceptable to the employer and the employee. They should both benefit from it, and none of the parties should feel exploited.
Employment contracts are enforceable by law, and should exist as an employee starts working. It includes rules governing the obligations of both parties – the employer and the employee. But these agreements are not cast on stone. Changes can be made when there is a mutual agreement between an employer and an employee.
When signing such employment agreements, you should ensure that all provisions are considered. The following checklist can help you to know what a well-designed employment agreement should contain.
Establish what the terms of contract are: When does the contract begin and expire? Is it a permanent and pensionable job, or a temporary one? Do you find the terms in relation to the contract period acceptable to you?
Then ensure that the contract specifies the salary and methods of payment. Establish whether bonuses or any other pay related to performance are paid. Are they acceptable to you? Are they in tandem with, for example, the national agreements on minimum wages?
For how many hours are you supposed to work in a day? Are you expected to work during weekends? What about leaves and holiday entitlements? What different types of leaves are you supposed to enjoy? Are they paid leaves? To whom are you answerable to? Can the responsibilities be modified at the discretion of the employer?
Make sure your duties and the position in the organisation are made clear.
You must not forget to have the conditions for termination of contract clearly spelled out. Although you are starting work, you should anticipate that some time in future you may wish to leave. So what are the conditions and the length of notice?
Although not many would like to envisage death, it is important to find out about death benefit. How much shall be paid to the employee’s estate if death occurred before the end of the contract?
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