Before you start to work, you will be expected to sign an employment agreement. These can be very intimidating and most employees give up trying to understand them.
Here are some typical features of employment agreements that should make a specific agreement easier to interpret.
- Position – your specific job title and a brief description of what the job entails.
- Terms of the agreement and start date – this is the length of time covered by the employment agreement. Generally the term is for one year with an automatic renewal. The start date is when you begin work.
- Compensation – this section will detail how much you will be paid and how often you will be paid. It will also contain language that describes supplemental pay such as bonuses or profit sharing.
- Benefits – this section will detail the specific benefits covered by the company. It will also describe the benefits you must support in addition to the company.
- Vacation – the agreement will describe your allowed days off for vacation as well as other paid days off (e.g. observed holidays).
- Location – the agreement will describe where you will be working.
- Duties – the agreement will describe specific assignments that you will have.
- Termination – the agreement spelling out those acts that could/will lead to you losing your job. The agreement will also spell out the amount of notice the company or you must give to the other party of intent to terminate the employment agreement.
- Non- compete – you will not be allowed to go to work for a competing entity for a given period of time (typically a year).
- Exclusivity – you agree that you won’t work for another organization.
- Work for hire – when this phrase is used you are granting all intellectual property rights (e.g. patents, copyrights) to the company.
- Confidentiality – you agree that you will not discuss your work with others. You may also need to get approval before you publish or present your work to others.
- Prior knowledge – you specify that you will not be using any confidential information from a former employer in this job.
Generally these employment agreements are one-sided. You won’t have much opportunity to change the agreement. There’s also little in the agreement that is written from the employee’s perspective..