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Should you ask for an employment contract?

Depending on the company and position, your new employer may not require you to sign a contract. While this sounds like a good thing, as you don't have to deal with additional paperwork, you'll want to think twice before agreeing.

An employment contract goes a long way in protecting you as an employee. Here's how:

  • Outlines the terms and conditions of your employment: For example, if you are illegally terminated in the future, your employment contract can help when taking legal action against your former employer.
  • Compensation details: There's nothing worse than taking a job with the idea that you'll earn a specific amount of money, just to find that this isn't the case. With an employment contract in place, your employer won't be able to alter your compensation without consent at a later date.
  • Overview of benefits: A comprehensive employment contract provides an overview of the benefits you'll receive. This can include health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, access to a retirement plan, paid time off and sick days.

Without an employment contract, it's much easier for your employer to take advantage of you. And if you don't have the terms of your employment in writing, it's much more difficult to protect your legal rights.

If a company asks you to start working without an employment contract in place, politely decline.

In the event that your employer violates your employment contract, discuss your concerns with the HR department and learn more about your legal rights. You may want to take action against the company, which can result in receiving some form of compensation.

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