What to look for in your job contract

Read this (and your contract) before signing on the dotted line

Everybody knows – contracts are terrible. They’re written by lawyers for other lawyers, and sometimes you have to perform mental gymnastics just to figure out what you’re reading.


But understanding your employment contract doesn’t have to be impossible. Make sense of the legal mumbo jumbo by looking for these specific things.

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  1. Job title and description

    First things first, knowing your responsibilities and expectations before committing your professional life to your employer is absolutely crucial. Check that the description fits the position you applied for.

  2. Salary

    Check and compare industry standard rates for your role and experience level to make sure you’re getting paid what you’re worth. Make sure the salary presented matches the number you’ve negotiated dollar for dollar, and confirm whether the amount presented includes your super contributions. Keep in mind that they should be 9.5% of your salary.

  3. Start and end date

    Your contract should specify the exact dates that you’ll be starting and ending your new gig. It should also include the notice period you’re required to give your employer when you’re ready to move on.

  4. Working hours

    Avoid pulling any unexpected all-nighters by making sure your expected daily or weekly working hours are specified in the fine print and allowed by the law. It’s also a good idea to check whether any weekend, evening or overtime hours are compensated.

  5. Leave

    Ensure the specific amount of holiday leave and sick leave you’re entitled to is stated clearly, including whether or not unused days can be rolled over into the new year. Know your rights, and make sure all your leave entitlements meet the minimum legal amount set by National Employment Standards.

Remember, if something doesn’t match your expectations set from your interview or negotiation process, speak up and make sure everything is to your liking before giving the A-OK.