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Will this be your first employment contract?

After spending years working your way up the ladder, you finally landed a job as an executive or manager in your chosen profession. You look forward to starting your new position, but before you can, your employer wants you to sign an employment contract, which is something you haven't done before.

The first thing you need to know is that you are not obligated to sign the agreement that your employer puts in front of you. You may want to take the time to thoroughly review it to ensure that it reflects any agreements you and your employer made and that it does not put you at a significant disadvantage.

You may want to know the common terms

Most employee contracts include similar provisions common to them. Below are some of those terms:

  • The parameters of your new position
  • The amount of pay you can expect
  • The other benefits you can expect such as insurances, stock options and retirement accounts
  • The term of your employment contract
  • The responsibilities you have to your employer
  • The policies regarding sick days and vacation
  • The acknowledgement that you will assign any patents to your employer
  • The acknowledgement that your work belongs to your employer not you
  • The non-disclosure agreements
  • The grounds and reasons for termination
  • The method by which you and your employer will resolve any disputes that arise

Despite the fact that there are specific grounds and reasons for termination, your employment contract may also include a clause that indicates that your employment remains "at will," which means that you may leave at any time and your employer may terminate your employment at any time as long as it is for a legal reason.

You may want to negotiate

When you review these and other provisions of your contract, you will want to make sure that it reflects any agreements you and your new employer discussed during the interview process. In addition, if there are provisions in the contract that you did not know about or disagree with, you have the right to discuss them and make suggestions regarding how to change, modify or otherwise alter them to make them more equitable and fair.

If you want to add or delete any provisions, you may negotiate those points as well. This may sound simple enough, but more than likely, your employer has a great deal more experience in this area than you do considering this is your first employment contract. In order to make sure that you receive the best terms possible, you may want to seek out the guidance of an experienced employment law attorney who routinely represents those in your position.

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