Getting a job offer is an exciting experience but be careful not to sign your employment letter hastily without looking into all the important points.
After all, the last thing you want is finding yourself troubled with a rather unfair clause of termination or other terms.
Here are six points you should look into when skimming through your letter of employment letter:
1. Commencement date
Make sure the commencement or starting date is as per agreed between you and the hiring manager. Also check the date does not clash with you other events such as medical check-up, pre-employment orientation and so on.
If you discover that your starting date falls on a public holiday, you know you will be working with a not-so-bright manager.
2. Permanent or contractual?
Is the job permanent or contract employment? In legal terms, a permanent job is referred as contract of service, and contractual as contract for service. This should be transparent in the letter of offer. If it’s a contractual job, how long is the contract period, and is it according to verbal agreement between both of you?
3. Probation clause
Under normal circumstances, a permanent employment will come with a probation period, ranging from 3 to 6 months, and may be extended beyond that. A probation is a trial period that will test your suitability with the company. Similarly, it is also an assessment period for you to evaluate if you want to work for the company for say, the next 5 years.
4. Termination during probation
Both parties can terminate their service during probation period, giving a certain notice period. Usually, it’s 24 hours. However, this can extend to 1 week, 2 weeks or even 1 month, depending on the company. The company can also choose not to divulge the reason of information (normally, they do) but you can also do the same if you want to leave.
Some companies impose a rather weird clause such as requiring the probationer to pay for a sum of money for whatever reason (e.g. as part of the investment in training you) if the probationer wishes to leave. Ensure that there’s no such thing in your letter.
Check and recheck, if you will be subject to the same terms and condition upon confirmation of employment. Will there be any salary increment as a confirmed employee? What about the job title? Any changes? Also discuss about other benefits and perks you will enjoy as a confirmed employee.
6. Termination during confirmation
Once confirmed, check how long is the notice of resignation. Is it a common period of 1 month? 2 months? Or 3 months? Only agree with the best resignation period according to your judgment. It is imperative to know that some employers would not wait until three months before a new employee joins, so always have your next job move in mind.
If everything is satisfactory, then sign the employment letter. If not, go back to the negotiation table and state your demands.