Offer letters come with a lot of excitement, and justifiably so. I mean, who is not excited to receive an employment offer after series of tests, interviews, and other drills? This excitement sometimes clouds candidates from seeing phrases, numbers and clauses that could affect their decisions. There are a couple of things you should watch out for and comprehend before signing the offer letter. I would examine a couple of them below.
Gross Salary vs Net Salary
Numbers, Numbers, and more Numbers! Compensation and Benefits are a crucial part of offer letters and salary stands out as a unique element. Different organisations write their offer letters using diverse templates and structures, thus, you might get bamboozled by some exciting figures only to discover that your take-home is a lot less than what was on your contract.
Your Gross Salary is the total amount you receive as an employee before taxes and other statutory deductions are removed. It is often the highest figure on your payslip while your net salary is what is left after all deductions have been made. That is, it is your take-home pay.
In Nigeria, deductions from the Gross Salary includes Personal Income Tax, Employees’ Pensions, National Housing Fund and a few others. The underlining note to remember is that your Gross Salary and your Net Salary are not the same. Therefore, you should be conscious of the numbers.
This section of the offer letter is important, especially if you are in a function-driven role or industry, like Finance, Fintech, Insurance, and other related sectors. Sometimes, this section of the offer prevents you from joining a competition within six months or twelve months of departure, this is done to guide against the transfer of knowledge, innovations and ideas that haven’t been executed.
Not honouring this section of your contract might expose you to legal actions including a lawsuit, so read it carefully.
The additional benefits an organisation offers asides from the salary should be part of the elements that capture your interest. Do they pay transport allowance separately? Do they serve lunch? It is the 21st century, do they pay data allowance? Do they have a relocation assistance policy? If it is an operational role like customer service, front-desk officer, sales/marketer and such, do they reimburse the expenses you spend while carrying out your duties? Do they pay performance bonuses?
It is pivotal that you do not get carried away by the numbers (Gross or Net Pay) and forget the place of other benefits.
It is post-Covid, and the workplace is going hybrid. While some workplaces are still 100% physical for considerable reasons, taking note of the time of work as stipulated in your offer letter matters a lot. Is it 8:00 am, 9:00 am? Is it flexitime or hybrid? Is there shift, rotation and are there levies or penalties for coming late?
Do not accept an offer from an organisation that requires you to get to work by 8:00 am if you know you are not an early riser, it might affect your productivity and performance, thus painting you in a bad light.
Mode of Dressing
In recent times, I have read some scintillating paragraphs of diverse offer letters from an array of organisations across different industries. From those who mandate employees to dress in suits (some even specify the kind of suits, skirt length and shirts) to those who are strictly corporate and do not have a dress-down day.
It is quite understandable that different organisations have what works for them due to the nature of the services they render, thus as a job seeker, you should study a company’s culture and ensure you fit in.
For instance, if an offer letter specifically states that female staff should wear outfits that are below their knees, please, do not call the HR wicked, if you are being penalised for indecent dressing because your skirt was above your knees.
Ownership of Intellectual Property
This is quite a sensitive part of your offer, especially if you are in the creative space. If you followed the not so recent Mo Abudu vs Tobore in the Oloture saga, you would realise the gravity of this section. It is important that you clarify who owns the ideas you birth every day during your time at the organisation.
Are they the organisations’ solely? Can you make reference to them when making a personal pitch or presentation? Taking note of these clauses guides your decision before signing the offer.
Other things to consider cut across, Non-Disclosure, Moonlighting, Notice Period and other elements that could determine the stability at your new workplace.
Congratulations on getting the offer, ensure you read it twice before appending your signature.