In many cases, when a candidate is recruited, they offered a new hire grant of equity awards and (possibly) subsequent “refresh” grants. Depending on the company, this can be a significant component of the employee’s total compensation and may be the most important piece to get the candidate to accept the offer.
So, naturally, companies tend to include information about the equity awards in the offer letter provided to the candidate, together with information about the employment terms (e.g., base pay, bonus eligibility, etc.).
If the candidate is to be employed by an entity outside the United States that is different/separate from the company that will be granting the equity awards (typically the parent company), we strongly recommend changing this practice. In a nutshell, we would advise to delete any references to the equity awards from the offer letter (as well as from any employment agreement that may be provided later or at the same time) and to communicate information regarding the equity awards in a separate equity award side letter that is provided by the granting company. Continue Reading The Case for Not Mentioning Equity Awards in Offer Letters