A new job or a contract extension? Congratulations! In both cases a great moment, in which you probably want to show in good spirits that your new contract is deserved. However, you also have to be careful. After all, all agreements regarding your employment are recorded in your employment contract. Now is the time to check it carefully. Because have you signed your contract? Then you usually can't go back. We list what you should pay attention to. Below you will find the ten main parts of an employment contract, with a brief explanation and the most important points of attention.
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 limited period of time. At the end of this period, your employer can choose whether to extend your contract or not. Doesn't he? Then he doesn't have to give a reason for that. If you have a contract of longer 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 your contract includes a cancellation option and how long that term is. With many temporary contracts there is no option to terminate: an expiry date has already been agreed. Sometimes it says that both your employer and you 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. Probation period
Usually your employment starts with a probationary period. During this period, you and your employer can discover whether you are a good fit. If not? In that case, you may both 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. Does your contract last longer than six months, but less than two years? Then the probation period lasts a maximum of one month. In the case of an employment contract 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 laid down 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 you gross salary you are less likely to be confronted with surprises.
Based on a 40-hour working week, you are legally entitled to 20 vacation days. Do you work less? Then you also get fewer vacation days. That calculation is 'proportionate': 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 of leave. These are called extra-statutory holidays.
6. Non-compete 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 determines how long you are not allowed to work for a similar organization in the region. Are you doing that? Then you will be fined. This clause can be too strict and thus limit your freedom. Therefore, negotiate it if necessary. You can often limit the clause to a number of competitors, a more limited radius or a shorter period. Or you can have it converted into a non-solicitation clause: that only concerns how you are allowed to deal with customers, partners or suppliers after your employment.
A non-competition clause can be in a permanent or temporary contract. In the case of a fixed-term contract, a non-competition clause must meet more conditions. And regardless of the duration of your contract, there must always be: minimaal state which function you are not allowed to perform with others, within which radius you are not allowed to use your experience and for how long the clause applies.
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 in order to be valid. For example, it must state how long your employer benefits from the knowledge and skills that you learn and over what period you have to repay the study costs. This repayment obligation must be reduced proportionately: the longer you continue to work after your training, the less you have to repay.
If there is nothing in your contract about illness, your employer must pay you at least 70 percent of your wages during the first two years that you are sick. Many collective labor agreements state that 100 percent wages will still be paid in the first year and 70 percent in the second year. 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 the collective labor agreement says about illness, so that you are not faced with unpleasant surprises.
9. Collective Labor Agreement and Staff Guide
Additional provisions are included in a collective labor agreement and staff guide (also called company regulations) that may apply to your employment contract. Whether a collective labor agreement applies and, if so, which one this is, will have to be stated in your employment contract. Even if the agreements in a personnel guide apply to you, this must also be stated in your contract.
Has your employer made a pension scheme in your employment contract or is there something about this in the collective labor agreement that applies to you? Important to know: your employer is not obliged to make a pension scheme for you, unless this has been agreed with you in your employment contract or collective labor agreement.
Did you know…
…we can check your new employment contract for you? This way you know for sure whether your contract does not contain any important agreements or if it contains 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 about.
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