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Things to look out for when starting your first job
- Is the contract in compliance with law?
- The legal requirements for an employment contract are set out in Section 12 of the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01]
You can download the Labour Act from the internet.
- Familiarise yourself with at least the first 18 sections, which will set out the basic provisions (such as leave, notice, probation and so on).
- Do you have a written contract?
At the very least, your salary, working hours, position, and duration of the contract should be set out in writing.
- Does it say that you are a permanent or fixed term employee? If you are a fixed term employee, is there the possibility of renewing your contract? What notice must you be given?
- Are your benefits set out in the contract or are they simply discretionary? If they are not in the contract, your employer can remove the same at its own discretion.
- Do you have a job description? You need to know what work you are expected to do. If you are doing more than what you were hired to do, you will be in a better place to negotiate additional pay, or even a promotion.
- Make sure that you are aware of the policies and procedures of the company or organisation. Ask to see the same. If you are not sure about something, ask for the same to be made clear.
- You can always try and negotiate other benefits too, such as allowances, guaranteed rest breaks or medical aid.
- If you are accused of committing an act of misconduct once you have passed probation, you cannot be fired without a hearing. Everyone has a right to be heard, so if you are summarily dismissed, you can challenge the same.
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