At-Will Job Offer Letters: Why and How to Write Them (+ a Free Template!)

When you’re writing job offer letters, you’ve got to cover all the bases.

Salary? Check.

Benefits package? Check.

Contingencies? Check.

As the middle ground between interviewing and onboarding, the job offer letter is key. It can play a huge role in what happens with your employee down the line if they accept.

That’s why I want to talk about at-will employment.

What’s at-will employment?

At-will employment means you can terminate an employee at any time, for any reason — as long as the reason is legal. You don’t have to give them any prior notice.

In this setup, your employee can also terminate their employment relationship with your company as they please.

Sound harsh? Well, if you didn’t already know, I’ll fill you in: Most employees in the U.S. are at-will.

49 states have laws that protect employers in an at-will relationship. Montana is the only state that doesn’t. Instead, it protects employees who have completed an initial “probationary period” from being fired without cause.

Why does it matter in my offer letter?

Even though at-will employment is common, it’s still something you should mention in your offer letter.

Sure, you might set a somewhat legal tone by including your employee’s at-will status — but is that so bad? Chances are, you already talk about some legal topics in the letter anyway.

What matters most is that the conditions of your potential employment relationship with your candidate are made clear. And if you don’t include your candidate’s at-will status in their job offer letter, you run the risk of complicating things for both of you later on.

Here’s a scenario: Your candidate accepts your offer, but two months after they start working at your company, things go south. So, you fire them. They’re not happy about it.

In this situation, the employee may be able to take legal action against your company for wrongful termination if you weren’t clear about their at-will status in their offer letter.

That’s why it’s also important to avoid any language in your offer letter that hints at an employment contract. In your at-will job offer letter, don’t say things like:

    • We’re excited to start this long relationship!
    • Once you begin your second year here, you can take advantage of…
  • We can see you succeeding here for a long time.

How do I write my at-will job offer letter?

This can be tricky, so don’t worry — I’ve got you covered.

In your at-will job offer letter, make sure to include:

    • Job title
    • Job description
    • Start date
    • Base salary
    • Bonus/annual incentive information
    • Reporting structure
    • Benefits information
    • At-will status
    • Contingencies
    • How to accept offer
  • Offer expiration date

But I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, so I went the extra mile. I drafted up an at-will job offer letter template that does the dirty work for you.

That way, you can spend your time finding the best employees. I’ll be here for you when you want to extend them an offer.

AT-WILL JOB OFFER LETTER TEMPLATE

Dear [candidate’s name],

We are excited to offer you the position of [job title] at [company name]! After getting to know you, we are confident you will be a great fit [in/on] the [department/team].

Should you accept our offer, your start date will be [date]. This job is a [full-time or part-time] [exempt/non-exempt] position that will require [hours per week/daily schedule]. You will work at our [location] location. You will report to [supervisor’s name/job title].

You will receive a [salary amount], paid in [bi-weekly, semi-monthly, etc.] installments by direct deposit. You are also eligible for [bonus or annual incentive information].

Our benefits package includes:

    • Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision insurance
    • 401(k) retirement plan, eligible [at time]
    • [x] annual paid holidays
    • [x] days of annual paid time off, which can be accrued on a basis of [x] hours for every [x] hours worked
  • [Any other benefits unique or important to your organization]

I’ve included a document with more information about our competitive benefits plans for you to look over.

We want to make sure you know that your employment with [company name] is at-will. This means that either you or [company name] are free to end your employment at any time, with or without notice or cause. No matter what changes during your employment at [company name], this at-will relationship is not intended to change.

Attached, find our at-will agreement, confidentiality agreement, and non-compete agreement. Please sign and date all three forms and send them back to us by [date] if you wish to accept our offer.

Prior to then, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns!

Thank you so much for your interest in employment at [company]! We look forward to welcoming you to our team.

Warm regards,

[sender’s name]

[sender’s job title]

[sender’s email]

[sender’s phone number]

[company logo]

[link to company website]

[company address]

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