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Here's what you should be checking for in your next graduate job contract

Lara Billington
Content Marketing Executive

Does anyone read the small print on anything nowadays? 

When it comes to employment contracts, apparently not. Pensions advice specialist Portafina, recently revealed that more than 53% of British people fail to review their employment contract before accepting a job.  

But according to employment solicitor Jodie Hill, who spoke to The Independent newspaper, it might be time we started spending a few minutes reading the small print: "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." 

With this in mind, The Independent have offered some advice on what to check over in your next employment contract. 

Your pension 

Yes, we know a pension plan is probably the last thing you're worrying about when you've barely even graduated university, but it's wise to start planning for your future - and how you're going to fund those post-retirement cruises - as soon as you can. 

It's a legal requirement for employers to offer a minimum pension plan of 8% of your salary (5% from you and 3% from your employer), but sometimes employers offer a bigger contribution. If that's the case, they could match their employees' contributions - for you, that means more money. 

Paid leave 

If you don't know what paid leave you're entitled to, how will you book your next summer hol? 

Although on a full-time contract you have the right to 28 days' holiday, it's important to double check what this really means at your workplace. 

If your statutory leave includes the eight UK bank holidays, you only have 20 days to choose when you take. Another workplace might expect you to work on bank holidays and at another, you might have to accrue holiday entitlement throughout your first year. 

Flexible working 

Employers often advertise flexible working options if they're available at their workplace, but having the arrangement written down on paper will prevent any confusion surrounding what 'flexible working' means specifically, and if there are any limits to it.

Sick pay and death-in-service benefits

What happens if get sick or die is probably not at the top of your list of things to check on a graduate employment contract, but there's no harm in knowing your what your options are.

As long as you earn at least £116 a week you're entitled to statutory sick pay of £92.05 a week, which is starts from the 4th day of sickness and lasts for 28 weeks. You should also look out for any sick days you're entitled to having with full pay. 

Death-in-service pay, which is often four times your annual salary, might be an option too. So if you earn £23,000, your family would receive £92,000 of tax-free money.


You won't need to know any of this information if you don't actually have a job, so that might be the best place to start. You can find tons of opportunities on our website, from internships to graduate jobs.