Contract clauses to watch out for

Friday April 10 2020

Confidentiality.  A confidentiality clause

Confidentiality. A confidentiality clause keeps employees from divulging the company’s confidential information to anyone outside of the company or who is not privileged to that knowledge. Shuuter photo 

By Phionah Nassanga

Starting a new job can be an exciting adventure although the stacks of employment paperwork can be complicated and time consuming. Some people get carried away or overwhelmed by the paperwork and just sign before reading.
Prosper Katungye, a lawyer at Rwakafuzi and Co. Advocates, says before signing an employment contract, an employee ought to clearly understand all the underlying terms of the contract to establish whether all the terms are fine.
“Contracts can be complex, but it is important that you fully understand the terms of a contract before signing anything. You are advised to seek legal services of a legal attorney to explain the terms underlying in the agreement before signing.

One can go through an entire contract, up to the end, thinking they have just landed the most amazing terms and conditions. If there is ‘notwithstanding’ in the terms and conditions set forth in any of the clauses, then pay close attention. With such phases, the contract may not be what you were expecting. Keep an eye out for a contract that denies a party’s previously stated obligations by using this terminology.
Force Majeure
Katungye explains that this phrase means great force and it is added to agreements to protect employees from events beyond their control. For instance, in case of a natural disaster.
However, he expresses that some employers may choose to leave this out.
“In case your contract has such a clause, you are expected to notify your bosses within 10 days after the start of such ‘‘causes’’ that would affect your performance,” he says.
According to Edward Cooper Kyamanywa of Kyamanywa, Kasozi and Co. Advocates, sometimes contracts have an automatic-renewal clause. If you sign a contract with such clauses, it becomes difficult to terminate such contracts and the reverse is true. He suggests that you should be careful when reviewing a contract so that you are not held ‘hostage’ when you think it’s time for you to move on.
Compensation and benefits
Kyamanywa notes that salary and bonuses should be one of the most important considerations when people take a job. While you have negotiated this with the hiring managers in the interview and certain amount has been agreed, you need to confirm it in the contract.

He goes on to advise that when reading, take note of benefits such as health insurance, working schedule among other bonuses.
He says knowing that you must be at office five or six days a week is not enough. Much as you need the money, take time to find out how many hours you have to work in a day. For instance during busy times, you might be required to work overtime so you should know the arrangement, especially in terms of payment.
Sick days and paid leave policy
Checking how many paid-leaves you can take in a year is important so you can plan how you will use them. “As a new employee, you also need to know when you will be allowed to take vacation days.
However, in case it is not indicated in the contract, it’s

your right to propose a leave vacation,” Katungye advises.
Termination terms
When you know what kind of behaviour might lead to termination of employment, It helps you know how to avoid making such mistakes. To Katungye, under this clause, you also need to find out the procedures of resignation, in case there is a condition that has forced you to leave the company before your contract comes to an end.
Katungye goes on to share additional and restrictive clauses in your contract that you should acquaint yourself with.
A non-compete clause prevents the employee from unfairly competing against the employer during employment and after it ends. For example, an employee cannot open a competing business while employed with the current company.
A non-solicitation clause is a stipulation that prevents an employee from recruiting any of the company’s employees or contractors after said employee has left the company.