Excited, thrilled, nervous… That’s how you feel when you’re offered that job you’ve been wanting. But wait! Here comes the crucial part, signing that offer letter *jeng jeng jeng*. Don’t let your excitement take over your judgement when signing that offer letter. It ain’t no normal T&C you can ignore, my friend.
So, what are the things you should pay attention to when signing that offer letter?
Here are 10 clauses you should take note of before lifting that pen up!
1. Know Your Job
While you may get a cool title like sales ninja, that doesn’t mean you’ll be stationed at some hidden mountain learning to sell from the shadows. While titles may reflect what you’ll be doing, ALWAYS read the fine print. The thing is, every office has a different job scope even if titles are the same. A business associate can mean many things. So, do your homework!
So you nailed the interview, you’ve talked to one heck of an interviewer who promised more than what you’ve asked for. While Peter may have been a great lad, he doesn’t do clauses and your offer letter. When it’s time to sign the dotted lines Peter isn’t going to read it out loud. Make sure the letter states the salary you’ve agreed on.
You may have agreed upon a guaranteed bonus of Nutella jars when your targets have been reached during the interview. Point is, you’ve agreed upon Nutella not hazelnut spread. Make sure the letter matches what was agreed upon and clear any doubts with the person in charge. Knowing the basics of bonuses like a signing bonus is definitely advised.
Most sales positions are only worthwhile due to the high commission, and being tricked of your commission is no joke. Be sure that you’re getting paid in percentages or a fixed amount for every sale and if you’ve negotiated for a higher commission, it better be there. Know your commission structures. Don’t want to be on the losing end, do we?
The interviewer mentioned you’ll be getting pizza Fridays? Are you to be given health insurance? Any travel reimbursements? Allowances? You’ll want to make sure all these are covered when signing the offer letter, especially when the nature of your job requires you to be travelling to Mordor and back.
6. Non-Compete Clause
A very important detail that often gets overlooked in offer letters. A non-compete agreement/clause is an agreement between two parties where the employee (you) agree not to use any information that you’ve attained in the company to work in similar industries for a period of time. For example, if you work in Coca Cola you’re not allowed to work for Pepsi immediately after leaving.
This can have a negative effect on a person’s life especially when you have to take time off for the agreement to lapse. Some courts refer it to as “restrictive covenants” which sounds like some ritual from Conjuring.
Depending on your job you may want to look at this term in your offer letter more closely as you may be giving the company certain information that may be considered private or personal to you. While most companies are required by law to disclose how personal data is used due to the PDPA, it is still important to know if there are other ways your personal data is being used by your employer. Time to switch on your CIA mode.
8. Non-Solicitation of Clients
Given that you intend to use the network you’ve acquired through said company after leaving, the Non-Solicit agreement will stop you from contacting your new friends. This is to stop the stealing of clients from the company. However, for this to be enforceable the term itself has to be reasonable. The agreement shouldn’t make it particularly hard for the employee to live after leaving the company.
Make sure you ask about the agreement in the offer letter if there are doubts you may have as it saves you the regret after signing.
9. Moonlighting ( Going Akimbo)
Sometimes, holding an AK-47 in one hand isn’t enough so you hold two and call it akimbo or something. In the working world where you hold two jobs instead of only one, we call it moonlighting. Whether your reasoning is for extra money or a hobby, be aware of the terms stated in your offer letter. Some companies don’t appreciate the extra firepower and will state it.
Sometimes companies might have hiring policies that go against your volunteer activities like being part of the auxiliary police.
10. When you come in/When you start.
Most importantly when you END.
Are you following the working days of a foreign country? Do you have to work night shifts? Half day during weekends? Know everything about your working hours and what is promised in the offer letter.
Now better pay is always attractive but before you change jobs, let’s not forget the time you’ll be spending. Now just because you’re getting more monthly that doesn’t mean it’s worth your time. 3500 for 60 hours a week is not more than 2500 for 40 hours a week. It’s less.
Given that you’re eligible for overtime, you better damn well be paid overtime.
In case you were wondering who is eligible for overtime by law. It is anyone who is earning not more than RM2000 a month and engaged in manual labor consistently. In the event that the salary offered is more than RM2000, you’ll have to look into the offer letter if they have promised you overtime.
For some of you who may be reading this in the states, the question of overtime has been brought up to the big four, mainly KPMG and PWC. The outcome of the two disputes differs depending on the state you’re in. California favors its employees and New York, the employers.
There you go! It may not cover every single detail of your offer letter, but it’s definitely enough to save your butt from backfire. Make sure you’re clear of the clauses before it’s too late.