What to look for when signing your employment contract

Between the excitement of finding a new job and the stress of learning the ropes at a new company, it’s easy to ignore small details involved in starting a position, like your employment contract. Chances are you’ve signed a few employment contracts in your lifetime as they are standard practice for any company. But how many contracts have you actually read?

Although most contracts contain standard information that you would most likely discuss in your interview or training, there are a few additional things you should be taking note of before signing your employment contract.

Compensation and bonuses

Be clear on the company’s policy on overtime pay and vacation pay. It is also important to note the company’s policy on raises and bonuses. A company may promise a bonus or a raise and yet not put it in the employment contract. In other cases, companies do discuss bonuses and raises in the employment contract, but bury the details in obscure language. Be clear on the terms, and don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions.


Not only do you want to be clear on what your benefits are and when they take effect, but also it is important to know if your benefits are protected in any way.

Cause for termination

Once again, be clear on your company’s policies. Most companies give new employees a probationary period (roughly 3 months). Beyond that, companies have different policies for terminating employment. Remember – you have rights. Be clear on your company’s termination practices and speak up if they infringe on your rights.

Job description

This one seems painfully obvious, and it is, but be sure to read over the job description on the contract and make sure it lines up with the job description you applied for.

Job security

No company is going to promise to never fire you. There are, however, ways that companies can offer security to their employees through career investments, promotion opportunities, collective bargaining agreements, etc. Make sure you review job security measures before accepting an employment contract.

When starting a new job, chances are your employer does not have your best interest in mind. They have the best interest of their company in mind. Because of this, your employment contract will most likely not include promises of job security, clearly outlined processes for bonuses and raises, and security for your benefits. And this is where we come in. Although your employer may not have your best interest in mind, but we do. We, Teamsters 987, exist to see you treated fairly in the workplace. If you think your employment contract is unclear, misleading, or goes against your rights as a worker, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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