When making job offers to new employees, it’s important to provide clear terms so you can easily onboard the new workers and give them a strong chance to succeed. While many of the terms you need to cover are quite basic, it’s necessary to include them since leaving any of them out can complicate your relationship with the new employees.
As the terms set forth below should indicate, most of them should be easy to understand. However, if you think the prospective employee may have any questions, be sure to provide the name and phone number of someone who can provide timely answers.
The following information is presented in the form of two lists. The first one provides the types of information often needed during the first week on the job – and the second list addresses more detailed employment concerns.
Always choose the most accurate words possible for these basic job offer terms
- Job title or name of the position. Chances for promotions in your company and future starting salaries elsewhere in the future will often hinge on assigned job titles. Try to choose one that emphasizes the new worker’s level of experience or key skills.
- Full- or part-time job. After noting this status, be sure to state whether the new person will just be working morning, afternoon or evening shifts. If the new employee must work a flexible schedule, always note that fact.
- Exempt or non-exempt job status. This classification is very important since it determines how employees must be treated regarding overtime pay and other issues. An exempt employee does not get paid for overtime hours.
- Supervisor’s name and job title. Often, this employee will handle or oversee all initial training that’s required and periodic job evaluations.
- Basic duties assigned to the new hire. Although it’s best to name some of the key daily tasks the new employee must handle on a regular basis, any list of duties should always end with a statement that the list is not comprehensive – and is subject to change, based on the employer’s needs.
- At-will employment status. This is commonly assigned to most hourly workers. Be sure to note that this means the worker can be dismissed without any advance notice or any stated reason. Employees can also leave at any time, without giving notice.
- Base salary. This should be clearly stated, along with information about whether the person is being paid bi-weekly or monthly. You may also want to note that by accepting the position, the new hire has agreed to direct deposit – or whatever other form of payment you have told the employee is standard for the position.
- Start date. After providing this information, you may also want to note if there will be a training or orientation session on the first day. If the job is a temporary one, you may or may not want to state when you believe it may end.
- Current contingencies related to job offer. Whenever possible, try to complete all background criminal and reference checks before an employee’s first day. The same holds true for determining the person’s immigration status. However, since there may still be some work left to do, include a paragraph in the job offer noting that it’s contingent on all these checks producing satisfactory results. You also should make sure that they understand the offer is contingent upon signing a confidentiality agreement and/or non-compete agreement or intellectual property rights agreement if applicable.
- Uniforms or special equipment that may be required and provided by the employer. It’s important to note if uniforms will be provided and if there’s any special equipment that the employee will be given during the first week – that must be returned upon his/her departure from the company.
Job terms related to employee benefits, company stock and other matters
- General employee benefits. Clearly indicate how soon the new hire will be entitled to receive paid sick leave (if any) and vacation time during the first six months or year. Also, indicate when any company medical insurance coverage may begin – and how much money will be subtracted from each employee paycheck to cover it.
- Stock shares. State the number of company stock shares, if any, that may be awarded, after a certain probationary period has been successfully completed. You can then indicate how and when additional shares can be earned.
- Employee handbook and company standards. You should note that all disciplinary matters are based on the contents of the provided employee handbook. Any general or specific company policies or procedures unrelated to discipline should also be set forth in the handbook. It’s often wise to have new employees sign a form indicating that they have received copies of the handbook – or have been informed where to find it online.
- State your company policy about the unauthorized use of confidential information. Be sure to tell your employees that they are not allowed to use confidential information they’ve been given by any third parties or prior employers while working for you.
- Bonuses and commissions. It may be wise to have your attorney draw up a separate plan governing these terms – or to at least review the one you wish to give to your employees. Care must be taken to be sure all workers are treated the same regarding their chances of receiving these types of important work incentives.
- Specific terms related to non-disclosure of any of your company’s proprietary information. It’s always wise to have your Houston employment law attorney draft all such agreements to be sure all new employees know when they start that they cannot later provide this type of information to others.
- Non-compete terms. These usually state how long an employee must wait after leaving your company before doing any work that directly competes with your business. Check
with your Houston employment law attorney to see how you should summarize this information. It will normally be contained in a separate non-compete agreement that the employee must sign on his/her first day of work.
The two lists above (which are normally combined) will usually meet the needs of most businesses. However, depending on your company’s unique situation, you may want to add terms related to the following topics.
- Specific work location. If you employ people in multiple cities – or in different locations within the same city — you might want to note this information to avoid confusion.
- Proper terms of acceptance. You can indicate how the prospective new hire should respond to the offer and by what date.
- Pre-employment medical tests or exams. Be sure to provide all necessary details and note when these must be completed.
Please feel free to call one of our Murray Lobb attorneys about any of your employment law, general business or estate planning needs. We are also available to draft the various contracts and other documents you need to use on a regular basis.