Many employment contracts are standard-form contracts which fail to take into account your specific circumstances. Given that executive-level employment contracts often contain complex remuneration packages and post-employment restraints that can have long lasting implications for your career, it is particularly important for executive employees to make sure their contract of employment is suitable for them.

In addition, those in executive positions are unlikely to benefit from a collective agreement or award, so it will be important to ensure that rights are adequately protected in the contract.

Potential terms you may consider negotiating include:

  • Remuneration and benefits – you may seek to negotiate on components of your remuneration package such as bonuses and future pay. Also consider if the contract sets out any performance indicators used to determine remuneration or how performance reviews are to be conducted.
  • Post-employment restraints – for example, restraint of trade clauses may prevent you from setting up or working for a competitor within a particular geographical area or from soliciting the business of any of the employer’s clients. How long the restraint is enforced and the geographical area of the restraint are both issues that may be negotiated.
  • Termination – you may want to negotiate the notice period required or include a clause protecting you from unjust termination.
  • Gardening leave – these provisions require executive employees to take an extended period of paid leave at the end of their employment and may prevent you from working for another employer or starting your own business for the period of the leave. Consider whether you would want such provisions altered.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive – what should be included in your executive employment contract will depend upon the particular workplace, industry and your personal circumstances or preferences. We can help you to review your contract by providing advice on the meaning and potential operation of the clauses in your employment contract and assisting you to negotiate amendments.

If you have been presented an executive employment contract and feel you should negotiate, call JFMLAW on 02 9331 0266 and our executive specialist would be glad to help.