Contracts and Terms

Salary is only one factor to consider when presented with a job offer. Below are some additional benefits and terms you will want to know before accepting or declining an offer.

Health Insurance

You will want information about what is covered, such as medical, dental, vision, prescriptions, etc. You will also want to know how much the employer contributes and how much you contribute. Ask when health insurance starts. Typically, coverage starts on the first of the month after your start date, but sometimes there is a waiting period before benefits kick in.

Life Insurance

Again, you will want to find out how much the employer contributes and how much comes out of your paycheck. There may be options of varying levels of coverage.

Pensions/401(k)/403(b)

Setting aside money for retirement may not be the first thing that comes to mind right now, but it is important to start saving early. Find out how much your employer contributes or if they match your contributions. Are the funds available immediately, or is there a vesting period?

Vacation

How many vacation days will you get each year? Do you accrue vacation as you work or is it available as a lump sum after a certain amount of time? Does unused time carry over into the next year?

Company Car or Travel Reimbursement

If your job requires regular travel, it is important to ask if a company car will be provided or if you are expected to use your own vehicle. If one will not be provided, how much will you be reimbursed for travel (including gas as well as wear and tear)?

Disability Insurance

If you become sick or injured and can't work for a period of time, disability insurance will provide you with a portion of your income.

Profit-Sharing

Some for-profit companies split their gains with employees, depending on the company's profitability.

Stock Options

Many publicly traded companies offer their employees the option to purchase shares of the company's stock, or offer shares as part of the employee's compensation.

Relocation and Moving Expenses

If you are relocating to start a job or if relocation is a regular part of your job, you will want to know if your expenses will be covered.

Tuition Reimbursement

Some companies offer tuition reimbursement for advanced degrees. Many colleges and universities offer free or reduced tuition for dependents of employees.

Dependent Care

If you have children, or are planning to have them, consider your employer's options for child care. Some companies have child care on site. You may have to pay an additional fee for this service or it may be included in your compensation. Many organizations offer Flex Spending Accounts, which allow you to deduct a portion of your paycheck before taxes to pay for outside child care.

Club Memberships

Discounted or free memberships may be available through a variety of companies, such as the YMCA or local gym, AAA, cell phone carriers and professional organizations. Make sure to ask Human Resources for a list of these discounts.

At Will Employment

This type of employment is very common. It means that your employment can end at any time you or the employer chooses without penalty.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) and Non-Compete Agreements (NCA)

Your employer may ask you to sign one of these documents to protect themselves or their company from competitors or other outside sources. Some terms of NDAs and NCAs include:

  • Employee agrees not to trade secrets with competitors
  • Employee agrees not to discuss the details of their job with anyone
  • Employee forfeits the right to quit and work for a competitor
  • Employee forfeits the right to list their current job or the work they have done on their resume or in their portfolio for a length of time during or after employment

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