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My wife recently accepted a residency offer ~2.5 hours drive from our current home and my current place of work, so I have begun to search for jobs in the new area.

I had quite a successful interview last week, and received a job offer by email a couple days ago. The only thing keeping me from signing the offer and accepting the position is the utter lack of some things discussed in the interview on the offer letter.

The travel percentage expectation is not on the offer letter. I was assured it was around 5% and mostly local, but (given the industry) I would expect it to be a minimum of 20%. The expectation of hours worked per week is not present on the offer letter either. My expectation is 45-48 hours per week (for a salary position) with actual ranging from 40 to 60 based on need, but some companies will push for as many hours as possible out of their salaried employees.

The salary offered is on the low end for the position, but as I'm fairly unqualified (but capable, as demonstrated by my portfolio and interview performance), I expected right about the amount they offered.

Should I push to get clarification in writing of these things from the interview before signing the offer letter, and if so, how should I go about it?

The industry is Industrial/Automotive. The position I'm being offered is Controls Engineer. The move has to happen within the next couple months at the latest, with sooner being preferred.

As noted by @dbeer , casual overtime is not a typical thing in many industries. The industrial/automotive industry in my area tends to call for a small amount of casual overtime out of salaried employees as a matter of course. My current offer (for the job I've been working for 5 years) is one such letter that stipulates 45 hours/week is the norm, and the overtime is casual and considered a part of earning the salary offered, rather than additional to.

Edit:

It appears that, while I have received a letter with both the travel percentage expectation and the casual overtime stipulation in it, this is neither typical, nor particularly common, even in my industry.

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    The old saying, if it isn't in writing, it isn't so. In other words if you don't have your expectations in writing, what do you expect to happen? – Mister Positive Feb 22 '18 at 15:20
  • I agree 100%, I'm just not sure how to go about it. As they say, a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush, and I currently only have the one in hand, if you catch my drift. – GOATNine Feb 22 '18 at 15:52
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    I have never seen a number of hours expected per week for a salaried employee put in writing in an offer letter. Companies aren't actually allowed to force salaried employees to work more than 40 hours a week (you can petition for overtime pay benefits in some states if you are regularly obligated to work more than 40 hours per week, even if you're a salaried employee). I don't know how normal travel percentage is to get in writing either. – dbeer Feb 22 '18 at 15:55
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    I also work in an industry that regularly requires more than 40 hours a week (software) but I've never seen it in writing, or even heard of someone that had it in writing. I wonder if your experience is normal for industrial / automotive and the industries are really different, or if it's just your current place. – dbeer Feb 22 '18 at 16:19
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    @dbeer I have seen for salaried workers the expected average hours quoted - but that is in the UK – Neuromancer Feb 22 '18 at 17:12
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You have some questions which require clarification, and there's nothing wrong with that. Contact them and politely request more info:

Dear X,

Thank you very much for extending me a written offer. I'm very excited at the prospect of joining your team!

I had a couple of questions regarding the employment contract which I think you would be able to clear up for me.

Could you please clarify what the travel percentage expectation is? Furthermore, does the company have a contractual expectation of hours worked per week?

Regards,

GOATNine

I'd polish that up a bit, but it's essentially what you'd be sending them. Do be advised that the question regarding hours worked may be interpreted by some employers as an unwillingness to work overtime, and may set off alarm bells for them.

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GOATNine, I would agree with dbeer's observation, it it perhaps not possible to put in a % travel for any offer; the problem is how do you measure it; if it is put in an offer letter the company has to stick to it; in addition, govt. has fixed your working hours as observed; every industry requires putting in a bit more once in a while, that also cannot be part of your offer letter.

What is more worrying is the pay part; as I understand you were offered something during the interview and the offer letter does not reflect that. It could be a gap in communication between the engineering div. and the HR. You definitely should get a clarification on the salary by calling the HR.

If they do not increase the salary as discussed during the interview, then don't join the company; they have a culture problem; it will not be a good place to work. If you join, you may find it very difficult to continue working there.

It would be infinitely more advisable to move to the location of your wife's workplace and you making the 5 hour up & down journey for some time till you find a better offer.

  • I would normally agree with the long commute, but with the hours I work currently (as an hourly employee thankfully - previous references to a salary position were from an internal offer letter that I turned down) it would be incredibly dangerous of me to make the commute. I do have alternate short-term option that make staying with my current company viable, and that is my plan-B should I fail to get a suitable job before the big move date. (1/2) – GOATNine Feb 22 '18 at 18:18
  • (2/2) As for the legality of putting a %travel and casual OT requirement on the offer letter. It's a legal grey area, because it's not a binding contract (this state being at will for employment and there being an offer instead of a legal contract). I have observed both of these items on the previous offer, and had just assumed they were typical of the field, but it appears I may have been mistaken in that assumption. – GOATNine Feb 22 '18 at 18:19

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