What is an Offer Letter?
Offers of employment can be made verbally or in writing. An offer letter is any notice in written form that informs a candidate that they have been selected for employment. It’s a formal letter that often includes the details of employment, from the start date, to benefits and, most importantly, the terms of employment.
What does a Job Offer Letter include?
Again, it all comes down to what is and isn’t relevant to your small business and its hiring process, but a few common elements to consider covering include:
- Conditions. A job offer letter can be conditional, meaning it depends on the selected new hires passing certain tests, such as background or drug checks.
- Salary. Of course the amount of money your employee will be making as well as pay periods are two things that are commonly found in offer letters.
- Benefits. If health, dental, and vision insurance (or some combination of the three) are part of employment, benefits are also typically spelled out in a job offer letter.
- Equity. Whether or not an employee is offered equity and when those shares actually go into that person’s possession (dispersal of equity is often spread out over several years) should also be included.
- Duties. Be sure to clearly spell out what will be expected of the employee in their new role.
- PTO. Sick days, vacation days, and policies on paternity and maternity leave are also often included in offer letters so everything is clear from the start.
Is a letter of offer a binding contract?
Whether or not a job offer is a binding contract depends on a few things. Technically, they’re all binding contracts, but it’s the terms of the contract that dictate just how binding it is. Most job offer letters will include a formal start date but say nothing about the term of employment (aka the end of it). Instead, there is often a clause describing the employment as an “at-will” contract, which means that either party can terminate it as long as the terms of termination are met (this is where the amount of time necessary for giving notice and the like are taken care of).