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Employment contracts have benefits

Receiving a job offer is the time to consider job security. While employment contracts are considered mostly beneficial for employers, they can also provide a safety net, which sets forth the employer's obligations concerning salary, benefits and other important matters.

Verbal job offers are, as the saying goes, not worth the paper they are printed on. These may be misunderstood and difficult to prove. The person who made the promises may not have been authorized to make the offer, may be reassigned or terminated. Also, written offers in a letter may not be binding, may be subject to change or may conflict with company policy. The sale of the company may also revoke these promises.

The agreement should contain basic but very important employment terms. These include the position that was offered and accepted, compensation and bonuses, whether the employment is at will or for a time period, specifics on vacation and sick leave time and how it is accumulated, each party's work duties and the work environment.

Because Pennsylvania is an at-will employment jurisdiction, employers can terminate an employee for any or no reason with few exceptions, such as discrimination. By setting forth a time period or even reasons for termination, an employee can receive some additional job security. However, this may restrict the employee's freedom to leave their job.

A well-drafted agreement can set forth each party's obligations and a way to settle employment disputes that is less costly and takes place more informally. Employers and employees can review the contract and discuss and negotiate any disagreements.

Employment agreements can benefit employees at all levels. Workers should seek legal assistance to help them draft, negotiate and review employment contracts. An attorney can help them obtain an agreement that protects their rights.

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