13 August 2023

What To Consider With A New Employment Contract

Your first step when receiving a new contract of employment, whether it is in relation to a company that you already work for, or you are getting a new role, is to read it  in full.

Start Live Chat

What to look out for in your new employment contract 

Your first step when receiving a new contract of employment, whether it is in relation to a company that you already work for, or you are getting a new role, is to read it  in full. 

You should check that everything that has been agreed with you (such as holiday entitlement, any pay) are as they should be and as has been agreed between yourself and your employer. If there are any discrepancies, you should discuss this with your employer before signing your contract. 

If you are currently working for the same employer and are signing a new contract, you should check that your continuous service will remain the date that you started working for the company (or a previous company if there has been a TUPE transfer. Please review our articles on TUPE transfers here for more information). If you have had breaks in your employment, the date should be the start of your most recent time with the company. 

What your contract should have 

Your contract should set out the following: 

  • Your employers name 
  • Your holiday entitlement 
  • How much you will be paid 
  • Any other benefits you will receive
  • Whether you will be required to work away or relocate  
  • Your name, job title or a description of work and your start date 
  • Your hours and days of work and if and how they may be varied 
  • Any training you are required to undertake and who will pay for it 
  • How long the job is expected to last (if this is a fixed term contract) 
  • If you are required to work in different places and where these will be 

It is important that you check and agree with each of the above provisions to ensure that you understand the same and that they are as you have agreed with your employer. 

Clauses within your contract 

Your contract may reference how you raise a disciplinary or grievance. These will usually refer you to your employers policies rather than be set out directly in your contract. This is so that your employer can amend the polices as and when they need to. 

It is also not unusual for employers to include what notice you will need to be served if you decide to leave employment, and what notice your employer is required to provide you. There are statutory minimum amounts of notice and your employment contract can enhance these but cannot take away from them. 

You may also see clauses that relate to confidentiality and intellectual property. You should review these carefully. In relation to intellectual property, it may be that anything you create while you are working for your employer belongs to them. 

You may also see restrictive covenants. These are clauses that govern how you can work in the future. They include restrictions on working with employees, clients and competitors. You should review any restrictive covenant very carefully and if you have any concerns you should seek legal advice before signing your contract. One common query we receive regarding contracts is usually whether these clauses are legal. This is looked at on a case-by-case basis and we would always advise that you review these before signing the contract. It can be significantly more difficult to question these clauses once the contract has been entered into. 

Disagreeing with your contract 

If you disagree with any element of your contract you should discuss this with your employer who may agree to some amendments. 

If you do not sign your contract but you continue to work in line with it, you will likely be deemed to have accepted it and so you should be careful to address any issues with your employer swiftly.  

Do you need advice on your new employment contract?

Contact us for an initial discussion and to make an appointment.

Book your Initial Consultation

0800 987 8156

Nicole Gibbs

Senior Associate (Solicitor)