Reading the fine print

Reading the fine print

Reading the fine print

It may seem a bore to go through your work contract with a fine toothcomb. But doing so could save you from much unhappiness further down the line. Once you’ve signed it, you have to live with its terms.

Your first job offer is something you’ll always remember – and something that brings a mix of emotions: excitement that you’ll be starting your career and all that entails; happiness and relief that the job hunt is over; nerves around your first time in the workplace; and uncertainty as to what to expect.

However, in the midst of all this excitement, you need to keep your wits about you. It’s a huge commitment to accept a job and you need to know exactly what you’re in for before you sign up.

Admittedly, there’s not much romance in dotting the Is and crossing the Ts, but your employment contract is a crucial aspect in the process of accepting a job – it’s there to protect both employer and employee.

Importantly, if it contains something you don’t agree with, it’s too late to change it once you’ve signed on the dotted line. The best way to go about reading a contract of employment is to have it checked by another party.

Ideally this would be a lawyer, but if you don’t have access to one, a parent, mentor or someone in a position of experience will do – you simply want an extra set of eyes to look over the details before you sign.

Once a company has extended a job offer, it will often impose a 24-hour limit between the time the offer is made and the time you have to accept it. If you delay, the potential employer may doubt your commitment, or even regret offering you the job in the first place

From your side, you need time to think carefully about the offer and read through the contract. So, to avoid any misunderstanding and not unwittingly miss any deadlines, your first step should be to find out how long you have to make your decision (ask the human resources (HR) department at the company or the recruitment agency about this).

According to research, the main reason people delay accepting a job offer generally has to do with the terms of the contract and their uncertainty about how to address their questions and concerns with the employer.

The best way to deal with any anxiety you may feel in this regard is simply to communicate it – place a quick phone call to the recruiter or HR manager and ask for clarity. It’s your right to do this and nobody will hold it against you.

In fact, it is regular practice to query the terms of a contact before it is accepted. of your salary you are expected to contribute towards them, and how this affects the total amount you take home every month. Again, this should be explained before you sign the contract. Always ask for clarity around the conditions of employment before you accept the job or sign the contract – it’s better to back away from something before you start than to commit to it and have regrets later on.

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