Over half of Brits don't check employment contracts

Being offered a new job is an exciting time. With so many different factors to consider, it can be easy to overlook the employee benefits on offer and what this means for you and your future.

A recent national survey found out how many Brits actually check their contract before accepting a job, and therefore, how many have signed an employment contract without fully understanding what they’re signing up to*.

More than half (53 per cent) of those surveyed revealed they have accepted a job offer without fully reviewing the employment contract.

Those in creative jobs are the worst offenders with over two thirds (69 per cent) of artists, designers and creatives saying they have failed to review their employment agreement before accepting a job offer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, lawyers are the most likely to ask to see a contract or list of benefits during the application stage (73 per cent).

With almost three-quarters of working adults (72 per cent) saying they are fully aware of their current employer’s pension plan, it’s no surprise to see pensions come out on top as the most important employee benefit for job hunters, alongside holiday entitlement.

The top ten most important employee benefits:
1=. Pension scheme/plan (25 per cent)
1=. Number of days holiday (25 per cent)
3. Flexible working hours (17 per cent)
4. Sick pay (12 per cent)
5. Bonus scheme (6 per cent)
6. Life insurance (5 per cent)
7. Income protection (4 per cent)
8=. Health plan (e.g. dental care (2 per cent)
8=. Company car (2 per cent)
10. Childcare vouchers (1 per cent)

After pension plan and holiday entitlement, nearly 30 per cent of Brits consider flexible working hours and sick pay as important employee benefits. Despite the value of these benefits, two thirds (66 per cent) admit they have never asked to see a contract or list of benefits whilst applying for a new job.

So, just what issues could the nation face by not paying attention to their employment contract?

Jodie Hill, Managing Director and Employment Solicitor at Thrive Law, warns,

Not reviewing your contract means you lose the opportunity to negotiate important elements of your job such as your job spec, hours, salary, pension and notice period. You may find yourself with an inaccurate job title or description.

Jamie Smith-Thompson, Managing Director of Portafina, commented,

As a company, we pride ourselves on the benefits we offer our employees and see it as a big reason why someone would want to come and work with us. However, I appreciate that the job market can be tough and if there isn’t a wide selection of jobs available, the perks of a job could be the last thing on your mind.

It’s worth remembering though that a workplace pension scheme isn’t a perk, it’s compulsory. Providing you don’t opt-out, from April 2019 you’ll automatically be saving 8per cent of your salary a year into your pension. As well as your own contributions (4per cent) you’ll receive tax relief and employer contributions.

“Some employers go beyond compulsory, offering valuable extras such as matching your own contributions. Always spend time looking at the true value of the employee benefits you are being offered, as they can really add up.

*By Portafina