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I got a request from HR to accept an offer by signing a letter. It’s not a contract, but indicates I signed the letter. Does that mean I would have to accept the offer without knowing their benefit package? I thought that the company should reveal that when they ask you to sign the acceptance of their offer. Only the salary is mentioned in the offer, not the benefit package.

What should I do next? Should I just ask HR about the benefit package I was offered together with my salary offer?

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    Benefits are part of the compensation package. For many, one of the more important parts of the compensation package. Particularly if they have dependents with health issues. Also, what good is it to get a $6,000 raise at the new company when it turns out that you are going to pay an extra $500 per month in insurance costs? You can't possibly make an informed decision about the compensation without considering the entire package and that includes benefits. Vacation, healthcare costs and quality, sick-time and retirement funding are all very sizable parts of your compensation. – Dunk Mar 16 '15 at 20:59
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    Benefits can also be changed at will by companies, so apart from the number of days holiday I don't consider other benefits to have much value in the UK. – Ian Mar 17 '15 at 14:52
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    @Ian that's an inaccurate comment. UK Employers have much the same leeway to change your benefits as your salaries - i.e. not without your consent. Since some employers also offer car schemes, bonuses or non-contributory pensions - they can form a significant part of your compensation. The CIPD reckons non-salary employment costs can be as high as 40%. career-advice.monster.co.uk/salary-benefits/… – Gordon Coale Mar 17 '15 at 20:47
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Typically I will ask to see the benefits package and the employee agreement / manual before accepting an offer. I am usually asked to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) before that is provided, which I do.

I would respond to the company, "I have received the offer letter, but it appears to be incomplete. Can you please include a summary or schedule of the benefits package so that I may review the complete offer?"

I'd be wary of any company that won't at least share a benefits overview document beforehand.

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    Beyond benefits, I would also ask for a copy of any policy manual by which you would have to abide and any agreements you will be required to sign as a condition of employment. I once turned down an otherwise good position because the terms of one of the agreements were insane. – Blrfl Mar 16 '15 at 18:07
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    @Kevin - not the benefits, but the employee agreement / manual, yes. I do insist on seeing them before accepting offers. Apparently that's unusual. Two companies have asked for NDA's before sending them. I think it's just lawyers wringing their hands, but I don't object. – Wesley Long Mar 17 '15 at 0:07
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    If the manual is considered confidential (that is, an employee would be disciplined for leaking it), then it certainly makes sense to slap an NDA on it as a matter of routine, like any other company-confidential information sent out to someone who's not an employee (yet). Whether a given company actually does that probably depends whether, as a result of their normal business, they have a big stack of blank NDAs handy :-) – Steve Jessop Mar 17 '15 at 0:47
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    "it appears to be incomplete" -- adjust this phrase for the level of snarkiness you actually want to convey! – Steve Jessop Mar 17 '15 at 0:51
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    @WesleyLong: that's kind of what I meant, I personally would adjust it downward from what you said, to something less snarky. Not "it appears to be incomplete", i.e. it's obviously wrong to all observers and I'm feigning a belief that this must be some accidental oversight on their part, but "I will need details of benefits in order to review the offer". – Steve Jessop Mar 17 '15 at 1:58
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There is no shame in asking about the ENTIRE compensation package. There may be shame in not asking. By accepting the job offer without knowing what your wages, benefits, vacation, work location, hours, company car... etc tells your prospective employer that you are not a very savvy negotiator. As an interviewee, you should always ask questions. Usually, benefits and compensation discussion is left towards the end of the interview, but you should always, always have this in your quiver of questions for your prospective employer. He will respect you for asking. Otherwise he will think, "Who is this dolt who doesn't care what the job pays?"

I like the term 'schedule of benefits package' Wesley Long used. Also, who will I work for, who will work for me? how large is the department, why did the previous incumbent leave, are good questions. They may not be willing to answer all questions, but ask anything that is pertinent.

In a tough job seeker market, you may have to take whatever offer you can get, but you still should know, up front, what you are getting into. Too, knowing the entire benefit package at the first interview, will help you make a decision should you be asked back for a second interview. You may not want to waste the time.

I'm not sure why the HR folks have you sign a letter that isn't really an acceptance of their unstated offer. Signing a letter that says you says you signed the letter is a bit strange. Read carefully, and tread lightly.

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I've been shown the benefits package in the interview as part of them selling the company to me. The job interview should include you interviewing them to see if both of you (the company and yourself) are a good fit.

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In I think every job I've ever been a serious candidate for, they have discussed benefits with me during the interview. I don't think I've ever seen benefits mentioned in the formal offer letter. That is, during the interview they'll say, "We have such-and-such a medical plan and you'd get 3 weeks vacation per year and we have a 401k retirement plan", whatever. But this is not normally listed in an offer letter. Often the company gives me a sheet of paper with a summary of the benefits, but not always.

I suppose a shady company might try to trick you there, like tell you in the interview that you'll get 6 weeks vacation and then when you get the job say, "Oh no, you only get 1 week vacation, we meant that you get 6 weeks after you've worked here for 30 years." But such a thing has never happened to me, and if the company was going to pull that kind of game on you, I'm sure it would be an awful place to work in general and you'd be quitting pretty fast anyway.

If benefits were never discussed in the interview and they sent you an offer letter, I would contact them and say, "Hey, I received your offer letter, I'm very interested in the position, but before I can make a decision I have a couple of more questions" and then asking about benefits.

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Because of long term health issues of my kid, I asked the new employer to send across the benefits docs over. Studied it carefully before signing the new offer letter. For family health issues (chronic difficult ones) - you are just one incident away from being bankrupt!

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    as an aside, it's outrageous that many people with family health issues are only one incident away from being bankrupt! – Michael Mar 17 '15 at 21:21

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