Employment Contract

Employment Contract Checklist:

Who is the employer?
What date did employment commence?
Staff Handbook
Medical Insurance
Housing
Salary
Travel
Completion Bonuses
Intellectual Property and Confidentiality
Leave Entitlement
Termination Clause
Currency
Law and Jurisdiction 

Who is the employer?

This may be particularly relevant if there is a secondment situation. Are you employed by your employer in your home country, or by the employer in the local country. This may be relevant as to which law applies to the contract and in other ways.

What date did employment commence?

This is particularly relevant when considering eligibility for certain benefits, as well as qualifying you for certain employment law claims. If starting a new contract with a new company, this will be obvious, but where a secondment situation is in place, the “continuous employment” should be preferably be described as starting when you first worked for that company or group of companies in any country.

Staff Handbook

Is there any sort of staff handbook or office manual which applies to your employment? This could be in hard copy or on an intranet. This may contain provisions which are incorporated into your contract, or at least relevant procedures relating to your day-to-day employment.

Medical Insurance

Full medical insurance should be provided (including being returned to your country of residence if adequate medical facilities are not available).

Some policies decree that visiting a medical centre is your cost unless you are dying. This can be very expensive. If your employer is reluctant to cover the cost, tell them you will obtain your own medical insurance and invoice them accordingly. If the company agrees to reimburse you, ensure this is written into your contract.

Housing

The type of accommodation should be specified, including the country it applies to. For example, is it of western standard? Also check who covers expenses such as taxes, legal fees, insurance and other bills.

If you are relocating with your family ensure the company will pay the shipping and travel costs for the outward and return journey. Check if there are any conditions attached to this. Will the Company give rental assistance or help with house hunting?

Salary

Determine the number of actual working days in a year, taking into consideration public, bank and local holidays. Negotiate your rate on this basis and not on a monthly basis. Also ensure that your religious holidays and beliefs are not compromised.

Your salary should be paid on submission of signed timesheet, or in some other objectively determinable way, such as on a specific date each month. Check on what basis it is being paid – monthly, weekly etc, and whether it is to be paid in arrears or in advance (arrears being more likely). Is there an associated requirement to open a local bank account?

Overtime, if applicable, should be specified as to when it will be paid (usually a month in arrears). Alternatively some arrangement should be considered if overtime is not paid for example, time off in lieu on vacation (not locally)

Travel

Airline ticket should be to your nearest point of origin.

It is useful to have a clause which states that either tickets or the equivalent sum in cash will be provided by the company. This overcomes any problems if you do not wish to return to your home country. Does this apply to all the family?

Completion Bonuses

If it is not agreed that the bonus is paid at the end of the contract, they are usually worthless.

Never agree to a bonus that is paid on the basis of satisfactory completion – the interpretation is purely subjective

Intellectual Property and Confidentiality

If your job involves or may involve the creation of intellectual property rights (including copyright, patents, trade marks and design rights), the contract should specify who will own the intellectual property, and what law will apply to their creation. What confidentiality and other restrictive provisions are there? Ensure that you are aware of their significance.

Leave Entitlement

The number of leave days off should be clearly specified (ensure that a minimum of one month’s leave is written into the contract), together with provisions setting out how and when these should be taken. If not, the employer may take advantage and you could lose out. There may also be a provision for the number of leave days to increase each year. Ensure that public holidays are treated as being in addition to leave days, or have the number of leave days adjusted accordingly.

Termination Clause

Ensure this is clearly specified. Usually one month or 28 days, this is your protection against the contract not being suitable, and puts some responsibility on the employer. Check that the reasons allowing the employer to terminate the contract are not unreasonable, and if there is a reference to “misconduct” or “gross misconduct” ensure this is clearly defined for the avoidance of any doubt.

Currency

Try and fix your salary to a stable currency, and check on what basis it is linked.

Law and Jurisdiction

Check which law and jurisdiction apply to the contract. It may be local law, the law of your home country, or the law of the country where the employer is incorporated.

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