What to Include in an Offer of Employment

IN THIS SECTION

An employment offer letter is used when an employer would like to offer a potential employee a position with their organisation.

Having been through what is often likely to be a lengthy recruitment process, sifting through applications and shortlisting applicants for interview, it can feel like a huge relief to select the successful candidate. However, it does not necessarily follow that they will accept the job being offered to them. You may be satisfied that you have found the right person for the role, and the right fit for your business, but you may not be right for them. The candidate may still want to carefully consider the offer of the job on the terms being put forward.

In this guide, we explain what to include in an employment offer letter to ensure the individual receives all the information they need to make a decision and to ensure your interests as an employer are protected.

 

What is an employment offer letter?

An employment offer letter is one which offers a successful candidate the available job role for which they have applied. This could be a simple cover letter, offering the candidate the job, to attach to key written terms of employment. It could also be a far lengthier letter, one which sets out the most important terms of employment within the body of the letter itself.

The letter, first and foremost, needs to be factual and informative, letting the recipient know that they have been selected by you as the successful candidate, and the next steps, should they choose to accept the position. Importantly, however, the letter should also set the right tone. Whilst the window of opportunity to sell your employer-brand and working for your business has passed, something which should always be done during the earlier stages of the recruitment process, the employment offer letter should express your delight at being able to offer the applicant the job role and welcoming them into your organisation.

When writing an employment offer letter, this is also the time to carefully consider the terms and conditions upon which you are prepared to offer the job. Many employers will already have standard written contracts, or standard terms and conditions upon which they employ all of their staff, whilst others will tailor the terms and conditions for the specific job role in question, or the individual that they would like to fill that role. The more favourable the terms that you can offer to a successful candidate within their job offer,  the more likely that person is to want to work for you – but the terms must work for your organisation and be in your best interests.

 

Is an employment offer letter different to an employment contract?

Whilst acceptance of an unconditional offer within an employment offer letter can create a legally binding employment contract, the offer letter will usually set out a conditional offer, together with the key terms and conditions of employment should that offer be accepted — and provided the results of any pre-employment checks are positive.

Essentially, the employment offer letter will be an outline of the contract of employment, where the candidate will be required to sign a full written contract once they have accepted the job offer in principal. The full contract should reflect the key employment terms and conditions already set out, or signposted, within the offer letter, but can also contain other contractual provisions, such as confidentiality, nondisclosure and non-compete clauses.

 

Is an employment offer letter binding?

The question of whether or not an employment offer letter is binding, if the offer of the job is accepted by the successful candidate, is a matter of wording. Most employers, even though they may be happy with their candidate selection, will still want to set certain contingencies before employment begins. This includes conducting satisfactory pre-employment checks, including obtaining positive references, undertaking a criminal record check and verifying a person’s right to work in the UK.

This means that, if your employment offer letter sets out that the individual’s employment is subject to pre-employment checks, these conditions must be met for the offer to stand. If the results of these checks are not satisfactory, the offer of the job may be lawfully withdrawn.

In contrast, if the offer contained within your letter is ‘unconditional’, once someone has accepted an unconditional job offer, this will create a legally binding contract of employment. If you try to withdraw a job offer in these circumstances, you may expose yourself to a claim for breach of contract. An aggrieved candidate could also bring a claim before the employment tribunal for unlawful discrimination if you seek to withdraw a job offer, for example, because you have discovered they have disability or are pregnant.

 

What should an employment offer letter look like?

Below are two sample template employment offer letters, to provide a useful starting point when drafting a job offer letter. These should be adapted to the specific offer and candidate. You may also want to adapt the tone of the letter to match your company brand voice. For example, you might want to start the letter: “We were all very excited to meet you, and were very impressed with your background and what you can bring to the company, and so would like to formally offer you the position of [job title]”.

Being enthusiastic is perfectly acceptable, and is often encouraging, provided you still keep the language formal and clear. This is an official document designed to describe, or signpost to, the proposed employment terms and conditions between you and your prospective hire.

Whether attaching a written statement of employment particulars or setting these out within the body of the letter itself, you may also want to provide a full written contract for the employee to sign on acceptance.

 

Sample 1: cover letter

[The successful candidate’s full name & address]
[The date of employment offer letter]

Dear [successful candidate’s first name],

Following [the recent selection/interview], we [name of your business] are delighted to be able to offer you the position of [job role title] at the salary of [amount] per year, starting on [date]. Full details of the proposed terms and conditions of employment are set out within the written statement of employment particulars attached to this letter. This is a [permanent/temporary/fixed-term post, with any fixed-term end date].

On starting, you will initially report to [manager’s name]. As explained at your [assessment day/interview], as with all new-starters, the offer of the job is made subject to satisfactory results from all necessary pre-employment checks. There will also be a standard probationary period of [length, usually 3-6 months] which must be completed satisfactorily.

If you have any queries about the contents of this letter and attached particulars, or about the pre-employment checks, please do not hesitate to contact us on [telephone number] or [email address]. If you are happy to accept our offer, please sign this letter and the attached statement of terms and conditions of employment, and return these to [insert details].

We very much look forward to you joining the business and working with you.

Yours sincerely,

[The letter writer’s name & job title]
[The business name & address]

For the recipient to sign and return (I accept/do not accept the job offer)
Signed: [recipient’s signature]
Name: [recipient to print their full name in capital letters]
Date: [recipient to insert date].

Sample 2: comprehensive letter

[The successful candidate’s full name & address]
[The date of employment offer letter]

Dear [successful candidate’s first name],

Following [the recent selection/interview], we [name of your business] are delighted to be able to offer you the position of [job role title] with a proposed start date of [date]. This is a [permanent/temporary/fixed-term post, with fixed-term end date, if applicable], where this letter will form a part of your contract of employment.

The other terms and conditions of employment will be as follows:

Place of work: [address]
Other places that you may be required to work at: [any different addresses]
Any requirement to relocate: [insert details of how and when this could occur]
Hours of work: [number of hours] per week, [days and times, for example, Monday to Friday, 0830 to 1730 hours, including a 1-hour lunch break, plus one Saturday in every four, 9am to 2pm, with time off in lieu for weekend-working]
Salary: [the amount] to be reviewed every [period, for example, 12 months]. Your weekly/monthly salary will be paid to you on the [which day of the week/month]
Benefits: [outline of perks, for example, company car and/or childcare vouchers, and where more information can be found on these]
Company pension: [insert where more information can be found]
Holiday entitlement and pay: [number] days per year, plus [number] bank holidays [with pay details, including how holiday pay will be calculated on termination]. The holiday year runs from [dates, for example, 1 January to 31 December]
Sick pay: if you are not able to work due to illness or injury, you may be entitled to be paid. You will be entitled to [terms of statutory sick pay and any contractual sick pay, and where more information can be found on this and your sickness reporting procedures]
Other paid leave: [insert details of any statutory or additional paid leave entitlements, such as maternity or paternity leave and pay]
Probationary period: there will be a probationary period of [length, usually 3-6 months] which must be completed satisfactorily on the following conditions [insert conditions]
Training: [details of any compulsory training and whether this is funded]
Notice period: [insert details, for example, during the probationary period, 1 week’s notice by either party; and post-probationary, 1 month’s notice by either party]
Continuous employment (optional, where working for the same employer in a new role): your previous employment [counts/does not count] as part of a period of continuous employment. This employment began on [insert date employment first started].

On starting, you will initially report to [manager’s name]. As explained at your [assessment day/interview], as with all new-starters, the offer of the job is made subject to satisfactory results from all necessary pre-employment checks and the above probationary period.

If you have any queries about the contents of this letter and/or the pre-employment checks, please do not hesitate to contact us on [telephone number] or [email address]. If you are happy to accept our offer, please sign this letter and return this to [insert details].

We very much look forward to you joining the business and working with you.
[Signed off as above].

Need assistance?

DavidsonMorris’ employment lawyers work with employers on all aspects of workforce management, including recruitment and onboarding processes as well as reviewing and drafting documentation relating to employment offers and terms. Working closely with our team of human resource specialists, we offer a holistic solution to support with legal risk management while protecting the best interests of the organisation in finding and onboarding best talent. For advice on a specific issue, speak to our experts today.

 

Offer of employment FAQs

What should be in an offer of employment letter?

An employment offer letter could be a simple cover letter, offering the successful candidate the job, and attached to key written terms of employment. It could also be more detailed, setting out the terms of employment within the letter itself.

What is an example of an offer letter?

Two examples of employment offer letters are helpfully set out within this guide. There are two templates, a cover letter to attach to key written terms of employment and one setting out the terms of employment within the letter itself.

Is an employment letter different from an offer letter?

An offer letter can simply be the offer of a job, without detailing the terms on which that offer is made. An employment letter will set out in detail, or signpost to a separate document, the terms of the offer.

What is a job offer letter UK?

A job offer letter, or employment offer letter, is a written document that an employer sends to a successful candidate at the end of the recruitment process. This will usually include things like the job title, salary and start date.

Last updated: 21 December 2022

Author

Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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