7 Things To Consider Before Signing That Offer Letter

posted by Sandra Olojede

June 5, 2017

The prospects of finally being gainfully employed, may becloud your logical reasoning and make you sign a contract that you may regret for the rest of your stay in that company. The mistake most people make, is that they sign employment letters without reading and understanding the terms and conditions of accepting the job. We would be looking at the basic clauses to consider before signing any employment agreement, and what “yellow dog contract” means.

  1. JOB DESCRIPTION

You should endeavour to understand the job description before signing the contract, to determine if you would be able to deliver the duties enumerated in the employment letter. It is also an opportunity to ask the necessary questions to help you make up your mind if you wish to go further.

  1. WORKING HOURS

Your employment letter should state your resumption and closing time. It tells you how many hours you are to work, break periods, and how many days a week you are expected to work. Some people already sign the letter, only for them to realize that they are to work on weekends and public holidays too, that would no longer be a job but a prison!

  1. BONUSES AND SALARY

This is the interesting part! Your employment letter should expressly state how much you are to earn, including the aggregate breakdown (transportation, housing, medical, feeding e.t.c). Where this is not clearly stated, ask the Human Resource Manger to explain in details. Also, bonuses for overtime work, out of pocket expenses, e.t.c should also be stated and where not provided, do yourself a favour to ask questions!

  1. RESTRICTIVE CLAUSES

This is a very important area in every employment contract as it could make or mar your career. A yellow dog contract is a typical example of a restrictive clause. A yellow dog is an agreement between an employer and an employee in which the employee agrees, as a condition of employment, not to be a member of a labour union, or if already in any union he cannot continue to participate in union activities. Others include;

  • Non-competition clauses may limit you to work for a competitor of your former employer.
  • Non-solicitation clauses prevent you from poaching clients and suppliers of your former employer.
  • Non-dealing clauses prevent former employees from dealing with former customers and suppliers.
  • Non-poaching clauses prevent former employees from poaching former colleagues.


      5. LEAVE

        Ensure you read what type of leave (sick leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, study leave) you are entitled to, and the number of days provided for each.


  1. REASONS FOR TERMINATION

The reasons for termination on the part of the employer depends on the type of employment (government or private). For government jobs, there is a procedure that must be followed before your employment can be terminated. On the other hand, employment in the private sector can be terminated unilaterally, except if the employment agreement clearly states a procedure for termination. So, it would be in your best interest to look out for this clause to know your fate.


7. NOTICE PERIOD

This period constitutes that start and end of a period of notice for termination of employment on the part of both the employer and employee. It ranges from one week to one month as the case maybe. And it is necessary to consider this clause because, some companies may add a clause that failure to do so would incur a penalty of a fixed amount.


You may say “with the current situation of things do I have a choice”? Yes you do! You have rights and you can ensure they are given, only before you sign that contract. Do not be like a yellow dog who can bark but cannot bite!



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