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Offer letter

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gocanucks
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Offer letter

Postby gocanucks » Mon, 21 Mar 2011 11:57 am

Hi, I would like to ask for an opinion regarding offer letters. Mainly, I am looking at the legal perspective, and not so much the ethical considerations (as I am already aware of those).

I have recently signed a offer letter. It states that appointment to begin on X date (in the future), subject to EP approval. The EP application will not be put through for another few weeks for various reasons. As such, I most likely will not have EP approval until a couple days before X date. There is also a notice period agreed to.

From my understanding, the offer letter is actually more of a protection for me, than for the company? As such, I am actually not legally bound to adhere to the notice period and other clauses until "appointment" actually begins? And this appointment actually wont' begin until EP is approved? Would my interpretation be correct? OR, am I bound to the contract the moment I sign it (again, I am referring to the legal perspective, not ethical).

Essentially then, if I were to break the offer before EP is applied for, would I be legally bound to the clauses in the offer agreement?

Thanks!

revhappy
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Postby revhappy » Mon, 21 Mar 2011 12:24 pm

You got it completely wrong. The offer letter is more of a protection for the company than yourself and the terms come into effect the moment you sign it. If "YOU" were the reason for not putting the EP application through, you will be liable to serve the notice period or pay the compensation.

gocanucks
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Postby gocanucks » Mon, 21 Mar 2011 1:04 pm

if the terms come into effect the moment i sign it, then wouldn't they be liable for their side of the contract as soon as it's signed as well? (i.e. pay, insurance, etc, etc.) Furthermore, what would be my direct link with them considering that in Singapore, one must have an EP to be employed? yet, my ep is not currently with them(I am still working with a previous employer). Oh, and btw, I am not the reason holding up the EP application, there is internal process at the future company, and also they intend to wait for my current ep to be cancelled by current company before putting through app for new ep.

In such case, say if I were to break the offer, under what circumstance would they hold me liable (considering the conditions for appointment has not been met, and I haven't started working with them)? My main concern is the competition clause (as a condition if I were to leave this company I cannot work for a competitor within X period). So essentially, since I haven't started work, what if I were to sign with a competitor now and break the previous offer? I mean, in Singapore, wouldnt I not be officially working for a company unless I actually have an EP with them?

gocanucks
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Postby gocanucks » Mon, 21 Mar 2011 1:09 pm

oh, and btw i am not in such a current situation yet, not on the verge of breaking the offer. however, i would just like to know the legal positioning in the event that over the next couple weeks, before the EP app is filed for the first company, what my options are.

gocanucks
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Postby gocanucks » Mon, 21 Mar 2011 1:48 pm

given this in MOM:

If a new recruit who has signed the Letter of Employment fails to turn up for work

If a new recruit has signed the letter of employment but subsequently informed the employer that he does not intend to start work with the company and failed to turn up on his first day of work, the Employment Act does not apply as the employer-employee relationship has not started.

Hence the employer will not be able to claim notice pay or any compensation under the Employment Act.

If the employer wishes to claim compensation from the recruit, he should pursue a civil claim through his own lawyer.


So meaning if they wanted to pursue my contract, then they would pursue it civilly. Would they then have to prove some form of loss from me not joining them? I mean..would it even be possible to enforce a competition clause if i haven't even started work with the company? The notice period I am not as concerned about because even if they were to enforce it, I would have more than enough time to give enough notice before the EP is even applied for. So, mainly it's the competition clause.


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