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Tips for negotiating an employment contract

When you switch jobs or consider switching jobs, you probably compare the advantages or disadvantages of one job over the other. If the switch is desirable to you, but doesn't quite meet your requirements, you may be able to negotiate a better deal at your potential new company.

When it comes to the employment agreement, be clear about what you want. Whatever you do, don't just sign the agreement without having your attorney go over it with you. Your potential employer will probably respect this, not hold it against you.

Here are some things to look at that can often be negotiated:

1. Compensation: Be sure it is clear if your base salary will increase during the term of the contract and how often. Make sure the company will not be able to reduce your salary, or if so, under what circumstances. Ask about bonuses and get the details. Some companies provide a signing bonus if you will be losing benefits to switch jobs.

2. Equity grants: Be sure to find out all of the details on equity grants provided by the company. Find out what percentage of stock you will receive and what type. If you are to receive stock options, what is the price to exercise those options? You will want to know what the rules are for exercising your options if you are terminated or resign from the position.

3. Your Employee Position: Just as important is what your job is going to entail. Be sure you are clear on what your job title will be, where you will be working and what the job responsibilities are. Anything you are not sure of, you will want to have documented in the agreement, such as can you be relocated or reassigned without your permission?

Once the agreement is signed, the opportunity for negotiations may be over. Verbal negotiations are usually unenforceable in the event of a dispute. Work with your attorney for assistance on working out the details of your employment contract.

Source: Forbes, "Negotiating Employment Agreements: Checklist Of 14 Key Issues," Richard Harroch, accessed Feb. 28, 2018

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