Job contract: 9 things you should check

What should you look for in an employment contract?

No one likes reading the small print. 

But your employment influences every bit of your life – including child care and flexible working.

Make sure you carry out these 9 key checks:

1. What are the core working hours?

Everyone must be present during core hours, unless flexible working is possible.

Will you be required to work outside of core hours?

2. Can you work from home?

This has become more relevant since the pandemic. 

Do you have to be in the office on certain days or for particular tasks?

Are you required to travel abroad or to other parts of the country? 

3. Is there a probationary period?

A probationary period is a trial period for new members of staff. It can last up to a year.

During this period, the employer can easily dismiss you if you fail to meet certain standards.

So make sure you know your responsibilities and targets.

4. How much annual leave do you get?

Most workers who work a 5-day week must receive at least 28 days’ paid annual leave a year (

Whether you work full-time or irregular hours, you are entitled to paid time off.

Calculate your holiday entitlement.

5. How many sick days do you get?

You can take time off work if you are ill. 

But you will usually need to get a doctor's note if you are sick for more than 7 days.

If you get ill on holiday, you can take that day (or more) off as sick leave instead.

See the government guidance.

6. What if your child needs you during work hours (dependency)?

If your child (a dependant) suddenly falls ill, will you be able to take leave?

The same goes for if your childcare falls through.

7. What about compassionate leave and maternity/paternity?

How much time do you get off if a loved one dies – or if you have a baby?

8. When do you get paid and how much?

Check your hourly rate, or your salary.

Calculate taxable deductions to find out how much will go in your bank account.

You will need to plan your finances around your pay day.

9. How much are you paying into your pension?

Your employer should automatically enrol you into a workplace pension scheme.

Part of your pay will go into your pension. Your employer will also pay into your pension.

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