The pay is reasonable but the contract is not.


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Q. After job hunting for several months, I got an opening at a local tours company. The pay is reasonable but the contract is not. The hiring manager wants me to commit to working there for three years. I think I should be given the leeway to work for say, three months, as I get to familiarise myself with the operations of the company before signing the three-year contract. Some of the former employees I talked to vouch for the organisation while the current ones warned me that this is a trap. I am confused. Should I sign it or not?

I can imagine your sigh of relief on finally getting a job after a long search. To your question, it is a legal requirement that all employers provide a formal contract to prospective employees at the beginning of employment.

A contract contains the obligations of the employer to the employee and has a list of entitlements as well as regulations that govern and guide you in the course of employment. The fact that your new employer has a formal contract is a good indication that they will meet their side of the bargain. Also, your engagement with the company is formalised in case of any litigation in future.

Most contracts provide for a probation period during which the notice period is mostly two weeks or one week depending on the responsibility level of the role, therefore, this should provide you with an exit route in case you decide to leave during the course of the contract.

You must sign the contract at the beginning since this will form the basis of the payment of your salary and access to other benefits your employer might be offering.

You have your reasons for seeking employment, therefore meditate and make the best decision for your career. While at it, I would advise that you focus on the positive aspects of this company, but before you append the signature if still in doubt, seek the advice of a lawyer to interpret the termination clause – HR will usually allow you to study the contract for seven days before accepting the offer.

If you decide to take the job offer and are not satisfied, you have an option of terminating the contract.

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