When does a job offer become a contract? When it’s accepted!

But determining that can be a challenge. Consider client A, who offers jobs by email along the lines of “we are delighted to offer you the position of *** at $** per annum at our Christchurch branch and would be keen for you to start as soon as possible. If you want to pursue this we will work out the details in a contract.”

If B responds just by asking for more details or suggesting a higher salary and more perks they would appear not to have accepted; but if they say “that’s great, please can we talk details” they have accepted the offer and become a “person waiting to work” which makes them an employee under the Employment Relations Act. Not only can you now not withdraw the offer, but if you try and introduce a clause into the agreement that the employee doesn’t like (e.g. a 90-day clause), you may face difficulties.

Protect yourselves – never make a job offer unless it is accompanied by an agreement, the signing of which is required in order to accept the offer. Prior to that you can still give them the details and discuss them – by saying you “intend to offer them this role”.

For assistance, phone me.

Need help managing staff?

Mike has a wealth of experience advising on every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. I can give you per-phone guidance or work along side you to make things happen.

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