Job title and responsibilities
This is important because it defines the scope of what your exact role is, and what duties your employer can or cannot require you to do. The wider the job description, the more flexibility your employer will have to require you to take on more work, changing the goalposts. You should check that the job description adequately reflects the role you are applying for, and does not look to impose added responsibilities that you can’t or don’t want to do. Also check that the job title is correct. If the role is for a managerial position, for example, you won’t want the job title to simply state “executive”.
Place of work
If you have agreed to work in a wide geographical area, for example other offices, locations in the UK or even abroad, your employer will be in a strong position if you object to a move at a later stage. If working remotely at home is a possibility and something you have discussed, then the contract should reflect this. Also, your rights to a redundancy payment could be adversely affected if you refuse to work in a new location, having previously agreed in your contract to do so.
Salary, benefits and bonuses
Make sure your employment contract reflects what was in your offer letter. You need to check there is provision for payment of other benefits that have been agreed, such as an enhanced pension, car, private health cover, equity or share options, bonuses and commission payments. Check if bonuses are guaranteed or discretionary. If based on performance, there should be set targets and an understanding of who decides whether the objectives have been met.
Hours of work
Don’t agree a working pattern that you will later regret. It’s best to negotiate a variation at the outset if necessary, including the possibility of flexible working if this is the only way you can get the job done. As well as hours of work, check whether there are any shift patterns, including whether you are required to work weekends or evenings, and if so, for what days and for how long? Also check if you are being asked to “work all the necessary hours that the job entails”, and if so what is expect