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7 things to watch out for when you sign a new contract

So, you're looking for a job. Maybe you've got an interview, or even started in a new role.

Every kind of job you do should involve an employment contract.

An employment contract is an agreement between you and your employer that sets out terms and conditions of employment.

1. A contract should be written.

A contract can be written or verbal, but in employment situations, it’s important that the contract is in writing so you can be certain about your entitlements.

2. You should be given a copy of your contract to keep.

You should be able to keep your contract with you or access it easily so you can check it when you need to.

3. Your contract should tell you what Award or Enterprise Agreement you are on.

The Award is a wage fixed by an industrial tribunal or other body, payable to workers in a specified occupation, enterprise, or industry.

An Enterprise agreement is are agreements made at an enterprise level between employers and employees and their union, about terms and conditions of employment. They can also be made by more than one employer, with a group of employees.

A contract contains some of your rights and conditions but many more can be found in the Award, an Enterprise Agreement, the National Employment Standards, the Fair Work Act, and the Workplace Health and Safety Act.

4. Your contract should tell you how long you will be employed for.

If you are put on a permanent contract, that means your employment is ongoing.

A fixed-term contract can be anywhere between a few weeks and a few years.

5. Your contract should say how many hours per week you will work.

A Full Time contract generally means you’ll be employed 38 hours per week within a regular pattern of hours.

A Part Time contract will have fewer hours, but the number of hours and the days and times that you work these hours should be written in the contract.

Both full time and part time employees receive access to holidays; such as annual and personal leave. You can find information about holidays in the National Employment Standards.

6. Your contract should include loads of other stuff, too!

Employers usually have a whole range of policies that you'll need to look over when you start your employment:

  • Code of Conduct

  • Secondary employment

  • Confidentiality

  • Privacy

  • Use of work resources

These can be confusing, and you should check over them carefully before you sign anything.

Your union can help look over your contract and make sure you are safe and protected at work.

7. Confused? Your union can help.

There's only one way to make sure your employment is safe, legal and decent, and that's to join your union. The ASU has a great history of making agreements with employers to make sure young workers like you get the best deal.

Go get em!


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