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A volatile business landscape sometimes pushes employees to stay in the same firm for years without salary increase. Some even accept job offers without the protection of an employment contract.
A worst-case scenario can be employees accepting an offer that enables an employer to terminate an agreement. How do you think an expat employee will feel if he is being made redundant before the contract ends? The employer will simply give a notice of termination and redundancy pay. Generally, employees do not verify the notice period clause, assuming that they have joined a reasonable company.
On the contrary, some C-suite employees always insist on an employment guarantee in the form of retention bonus, or a one or two-year compensation in lieu of termination due to redundancy. But, the lower level employees cannot negotiate, so there is no way that they can ask for a protection clause to be mentioned in their contract.
For employees changing jobs, the advantages of an employment agreement are obvious. The contract usually spells out the compensation and employment terms. It definitely protects employees from a change in terms without their consent. Employment contracts usually define when and under what circumstances the employment relationship can be terminated, as well as the notice period of pay and end-of-service benefits like gratuity that the employees will receive.
It is, therefore, about time that employees insisted on a protection clause in the contract, even if employers retain the right to terminate employees without cause. However, such an agreement usually requires a severance pay in the amount sufficient to offer the employee some protection, providing him with a certain amount of job security.
Professionals and skilled workers who are in huge demand can insist on a job security protection clause before signing any contract. The best time to reach an agreement is before the employment relationship starts.
• Negotiate pay, lines of responsibility and specific position
• Ask to get a confirmation of everything you have negotiated
• Confirm benefits before sorting out the necessary paperwork
Source: Dr. Pon Mohaideen Pitchai, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is a Dubai-based HR and Management Consultant