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August 18, 2009

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Sue

Agreed. If you feel you dont understand it then ask advice. There is always someone around who can interpret what looks like gobble-de-gook and break it down into understandable bite sized chunks.
If it is an employment contract feel no shame in asking the employed-to-be who is issuing it to explain what they mean.
It works both ways. I once won a legal case against an ex-employer because they hadnt bothered to give me an appropriate contract. They tried to rectify it with the old 'just sign here' trick when I was 'asked to go' but it was too late then. I would have signed away a lot of rights and a lot of money had I done so. Instead I took a deep breath and went and asked a solicitor for help.

John Cooper

I had a quick look and there was no reference to M&Ms in my contract and I am really disappointed now. How do I get a job with Van Halen?

Katharine Schopflin

The problem is not just contracts, but that we often don't know the questions to ask when we start. I would recommend people to ask, at the salary negotiation stage:
- under what circumstances could I receive any salary enhancement, annual percentage increase or bonus and what was the annual increase last year?
- what is the maximum number of hours I might be asked to work in a week (I worked somewhere where you could be asked to work an extra day unpaid in the week because, if it happened once in 3 months, it averaged out within the total hours)
- what is my annual leave entitlement, is it ever likely to increase and, if I'm unable to take any in my probation period, will I be able to carry it into the next leave year?
I'm sure people can think of other questions 'if only I'd known!' to ask when we started.

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