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10 things to pay attention to before signing your new contract

June 04, 2024

Congratulations on your new employment contract! We understand that it is very tempting to write something immediately: contracts are usually expensive. However, we advise you to read the document carefully first – you can now propose changes or negotiate, but later you will not. To guide you through all the legal terms, we have listed ten things that you should be aware of.

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Please note!

This blog focuses on a new or extended contract. Will your employer be taken over and will you get a new employment contract for that reason? Let our legal specialists first check whether it is necessary or advisable in your situation to sign a new contract.

1. Duration of your employment contract
An employment contract can be for a definite or indefinite period. Usually your first contract is for a fixed period. At the end of this period, your employer can choose whether or not to extend your contract. Doesn't he? Then he doesn't have to give a reason for it. If you have a contract of more than six months, your employer must indicate one month before the end whether he will extend your employment; this is called the notification obligation. Do you have a contract for an indefinite period (a permanent contract)? Then your employer cannot just fire you.

2. Notice period
It is very important to check whether there is a cancellation option in your contract and how long that period is. With many temporary contracts there is no possibility to cancel: an end date has already been agreed. Sometimes it is stated that both you and your employer can terminate the contract prematurely. Your employer does need permission from the UWV, but you do not. The notice period must always be observed.

3. Probationary period
Your employment usually starts with a probationary period. During this period, you and your employer can discover whether you are a good fit for each other. If not? Then both of you may decide to terminate the employment without observing the notice period. If you have a contract for less than six months, there should be no probationary period. Is your contract longer than six months, but less than two years? Then the probationary period lasts a maximum of one month. For employment contracts for two years or longer, the probationary period is a maximum of two months. You do not automatically have a probationary period: this must be recorded in writing.

4. Job description and salary
It is important that your job description is clear and accurate in your contract. The description must correspond to the work that you will actually perform. This way you can better determine whether you are getting the right salary and you can intervene better if your position changes undesirably. In addition, your job description is the basis for the entire performance and assessment process of your employer.

When talking about your salary, always talk clearly about gross amounts. Your net salary is always lower than your gross salary. By explicitly talking about your gross salary, you are less likely to be faced with surprises.

5. Vacation
If you work 40 hours a week, you are legally entitled to 20 vacation days. Do you work less? Then you also get fewer vacation days. This calculation is 'pro rata': for example, for 50 percent less work (20 hours) you also get 50 percent fewer vacation days (10 days). Your collective labor agreement or contract may also state that you will receive more days off. These are called non-statutory holidays.

6. Non-competition clause
Sometimes an employer does not want you to use the knowledge and experience you gain during your work if you start working for a competitor. He can then include a non-competition clause in your employment contract: this agreement stipulates how long you may not work for a similar organization in the region. Are you doing that anyway? Then you get a fine. This clause may be too strict and thus restrict your freedom. Therefore, negotiate if necessary. Often you can limit the clause to a number of competitors, a smaller area or a shorter period. Or you can have it converted into a relationship clause: that only concerns how you can deal with customers, partners or suppliers after your employment.

A non-competition clause can be included in a permanent or temporary contract. In the case of a fixed-term contract, a non-competition clause must meet more conditions.

7. Study costs
Your employer can give you the opportunity to retrain through courses, training or studies. Sounds nice of course, but check carefully who will ultimately pay for the costs. For example, your contract may state that you must pay back the study costs if you resign within a certain period.

Such an agreement about study costs must meet a number of conditions to be valid. For example, it must state how long your employer will benefit from the knowledge and skills you learn and over what period you must repay the study costs. This repayment obligation must decrease proportionately: the longer you continue to work after your training, the less you have to repay. Would you like to read more about study costs and payment arrangements? Earlier we discussed it extensively.

8. Illness
If your contract does not state anything about illness, your employer must pay you at least 70 percent of your salary during the first two years that you are ill, up to a maximum of the maximum daily wage. In the first year you must also receive the minimum wage in any case. Many collective labor agreements include a supplement to this. Your contract may also state that you will not receive a salary for the first two days; these are called wage-free waiting days. Check carefully what your agreement or collective labor agreement states about illness, so that you are not faced with unpleasant surprises.

9. Collective labor agreement and personnel guide
Additional provisions that may apply to your employment contract are included in a collective labor agreement and personnel guide (also known as company regulations). Whether a collective labor agreement applies and if so, which one is, is often stated in your employment contract. It is also often stated whether agreements from an employee guide apply to you.

10. Pension
Sometimes your contract or collective labor agreement contains agreements about a pension scheme. Employers are not always required to do this.

Learn more!

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Did you know…

…we can check your new employment contract for you? This way you know for sure whether your contract contains any important agreements or ambiguities. We check whether your contract is valid, tell you exactly what you are entitled to and advise you on what you can still negotiate.

Want to know more?

Do you have questions about your employment contract, this article or would you like to discuss what we can do for you? Please feel free to contact us. Our Service Center is available every working day from 8.30:17.00 AM to 0345:851 PM via sc@unie.nl and 963 XNUMX XNUMX.

 

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