Why is it important to give a letter of employment to all individuals who are offered a position? Although many organizations prefer to extend offers of employment in person or over the phone,1 a formal letter of employment allows an organization to clearly communicate its expectations to new recruits, ensuring that they comprehend the terms of their employment2 including salary, benefits, reporting and supervision relationships, as well as any conditions related to the offer. A letter of employment not only ensures shared understanding between your organization and a potential employee, but creates a formal record that the terms of employment are fully understood.
What should be included in a letter of employment?3
- Start date of employment
- Job title
- Starting salary or wage range
- Hours of work
- Notice period for resignation and termination
- Probationary terms
- Instructions on how to accept the offer of employment
- Any requirements for criminal records checks, security clearance, etc.
- Description of employee benefits
- Conditions of the offer if applicable
- Reporting or supervisory relationships
- Accommodation needs as agreed during the recruitment process if applicable
- Information on how to access HR policies and confirmation that the employee must adhere to them
- End date of employment for fixed term positions
- Reference to union status if applicable
- Cost of living allowance if applicable4
From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management," Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.
- “Extending an Offer,” Nonprofit Hiring Toolkit,” The Bridgespan Group, 2012.
- “Selection & Hiring,” Getting the Right People, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
- “HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector.
- In Fort McMurray, Alberta, certain nonprofit staff positions qualify for a cost of living adjustment depending on the source of funding.
Standards Reference Guide