Top 10 tips for employees considering a new contract

Louise Laurent, employment lawyer at Winckworth Sherwood LLP, shares her top ten tips for employees to consider in their new contract when changing jobs:

These can have benefits for both parties, because if you end up not liking your new role, you can quickly move on. However, it can also be disappointing to see that your job can be terminated at very short notice, for example a week during the probationary period after you have taken several rounds of interviews to secure your new role and that you give up the security of your current role. Consider requesting the removal of the trial period or extending the notice period to give you some financial comfort if things don’t work out and the company fires you during the trial period.

Don’t be afraid to ask for more than originally suggested. With the cost of living rising, also check when your salary will first be reviewed and what the company’s process is regarding salary reviews.

A connection bonus as well as performance bonuses may be offered to you.

Opening bonuses often contain refund provisions if you leave the company within a certain time frame, so check what these are and if there is a sliding scale for refunds based on the length of your stay in the company. company, because it would be more reasonable for you to have to. repay the full amount, regardless of how long you have been with the business. Also check to see if there is a distinction between what is generally referred to as a ‘good start’, i.e. a start due to layoff or poor health, and a ‘bad start’ , i.e. departure due to misconduct or poor performance or your resignation .

For performance bonuses, find out what criteria you need to meet and get as much clarity as possible in writing before you enter into the contract. For example, what level of bonuses has been paid to the team over the past three years? Will the bonus be paid partly in cash and partly in shares? What rules apply to shares? You can also negotiate a guaranteed premium for the first year while you embark on the new business. Companies generally provide that a bonus will not be paid if your employment is terminated or you are notified before the bonuses are paid, but see if there can be a distinction between different departure scenarios, that is- ie if you are a “good start”, you can still receive a bonus or a pro-rated bonus.

Employers are focusing on the benefits they can offer employees in the war for talent. Find out what benefits you will be entitled to and in particular whether private medical insurance, critical illness insurance and in-service death benefits are provided. The vast majority of employees have the right to be automatically affiliated to a pension scheme by their employer. The minimum pension contributions for eligible employees are 5% by the employee and 3% by the employer. Check that these contributions will be covered.

Do you have flexibility in where you can work, when you can work, and how you work? Are there different rules depending on seniority? If the company offers telework, find out if it is only a temporary arrangement or if it is a permanent arrangement, if it is an important point for you .

You are entitled to a minimum of 28 vacation days including holidays and bank holidays per year. This will be pro-rated if you work part-time. However, many companies offer more than the legal entitlement and increase the level of entitlement with seniority. See if the company is willing to be more generous if it offers only the legal minimum.

Employers are only legally required to pay statutory sick pay (rather than your normal salary) if you are on sick leave, which is £99.35 a week for up to 28 weeks. A number of employers have contractual sick pay agreements where they agree to pay more than this. Ask yourself if you think these periods are reasonable and, ideally, if they correspond to critical illness cover in case you become ill with a critical illness.

It’s likely that the employment contract will reference the company’s personnel manual or certain policies and procedures – ask for them. It will give you an idea of ​​the company culture, but will also tell you about its family-friendly provisions (e.g. does it offer better maternity and paternity pay) and other leave entitlements, such as paid compassionate care leave.

Legal notice periods are short. These require that after one month of employment, an employee and employer give each other a week’s notice. The period of notice that an employer must give then increases from year to year of service, that is to say by two weeks once the two years of service have been completed; three weeks after three years of service, etc. up to a maximum of 12 weeks notice after 12 years of service. In some industries, it is common for the employer and employee to agree to longer notice periods.

Contracts often include a right for the company to pay a lump sum in lieu of notice. This may cover only the salary and also allow the company to pay it in installments, with these installments reduced by any money you receive from other work. If you think the notice provisions are one-sided, ask that they be made fairer.

  • Post-Termination Restrictive Covenants

These are often overlooked when an employee signs a new contract. It’s really important that they are carefully considered as they can have a significant impact on what you can do next if your new job doesn’t work out. There could be a non-competition clause preventing you from working with a competitor for a certain period or clauses preventing you from soliciting and dealing with customers for a certain period. There is no requirement in the UK for an employee to be paid during the covenant period. If you consider the commitments to be too onerous, for example, they are for long periods of time, they cover relationships with customers you bring into the business, or there is no period compensation for any time spent in garden leave, negotiate these commitments before entering into the Contract.

Louise Lawrence is ranked Next Generation Partner for Employment Law by Legal 500. She regularly advises employees in the financial services, professional services, real estate, marketing, advertising and public relations industries (as well as other sectors) on their new employment and partnership contracts. .

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