Added by on 2012-09-19

The importance of written agreements

An offer of employment may be made verbally and then followed up in writing with more details. Note that there must be an unconditional acceptance by the person receiving the offer before a contract of employment exists. In the case of a written agreement, acceptance occurs once the agreement is signed by the employee and returned to the employer.

You should provide an employee who will be covered by an award or enterprise agreement with a written agreement in the form of a letter of appointment with a standard set of basic conditions attached.

It is important to explicitly state that the contents of the letter of appointment comprise the actual offer of employment. This is to avoid any possible conflict with statements made at an earlier stage, eg during an interview. Careful attention to terminology and expression is therefore necessary and the following points should be observed:

  • The letter should say: “we offer…”, rather than ” we confirm our offer…”
  • It should state that “acceptance is conditional upon signing and returning this letter” or “upon supplying proof of qualifications/work experience” etc.

Once the letter is signed and dated make sure you and the new employee have a copy.

ChecklistPreparing letters of appointment and conditions of employment

  • Use simple language! Avoid “legalese” as much as possible. Where using complex terms is unavoidable, at least provide the employee with plenty of opportunity to ask questions about any terms he/she doesn’t understand.
  • Use short sentences, containing no more than one or two statements or propositions.
  • Avoid unnecessary words.
  • Individual clauses should remain as short as possible
  • When referring to legislation, it is advisable to use the same terms as the legislation, as ambiguity might lead to legal problems.
  • Consider whether people of non-English speaking backgrounds require interpretation or translation in order to ensure that they understand the terms of the offer and conditions.
  • Suggest to the employee that he/she may want to have an independent third party review the offer.

 

Example – Sample letterLetter of appointment

 

(Date)

(Employee name)

(Address)

Dear………………….,

Further to your recent interview I am pleased to make the following offer of employment to you on behalf of …………… (company name, division or state).

Your position will be………………… The position reports to……………

Your duties will be……………………………………………..

However, you may also be required to perform other duties from time to time to suit business needs. Where appropriate, training will be provided in relation to your duties.

Your commencement date will be ……………..

The basis of your employment is ……………….(part-time or full-time) for …… (state hours per week)), for the period …………………..(if fixed term employment).

Your salary (or wage) will be $……….. per annum (or week/fortnight) paid directly into a bank account of your choice. Your pay and conditions will be in accordance with the ………….. (award or agreement). You are eligible for appropriate award increases when they are granted as well as overtime if you work outside your normal working hours.

You will be employed initially on a three-month probationary period. During this time your employment may be terminated with one week’s notice on either side. Thereafter the periods of notice to terminate your employment are those set out in the enclosed statement of terms.

Additional terms and conditions of employment are set out in the attached document headed “Employment Conditions” which you should read carefully before accepting this offer.

I would like to take this opportunity of welcoming you to our team. If the above terms and conditions, including those set out in the enclosed document are acceptable to you, please signify your acceptance by signing the enclosed copy of this letter. Please return one copy to me in the enclosed envelope.

Yours faithfully,

(Company name)

(name and title)

I hereby accept the offer of employment.

…………………….. (signed)

Dated:……………..

Attachment/

Sample attachment

The following set of conditions of employment would need to be varied to suit the particular position and to reflect any relevant award or enterprise agreement provisions.

ExampleEmployment conditions

[insert relevant workplace conditions next to headings, ensuring compliance with any relevant award/agreement]

Hours of work:

Responsibilities:

Superannuation:

Expense reimbursement:

Sick leave:

Family leave:

Termination of employment:

Probationary employment:

Return of company property:

Company policy:

Confidentiality:

 

 

 

 

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