Q&As

Can electronic signatures be used in employment contracts?

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Published on LexisPSL on 09/09/2016

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can electronic signatures be used in employment contracts?

Can electronic signatures be used in employment contracts?

There is in fact no requirement that an employment contract be signed at all (electronically or otherwise):

  1. there is no statutory obligation to this effect

  2. contractually (under the law of England and Wales), an employment contract can be binding whether or not it is signed

There is a statutory obligation on the employer to provide a written statement of certain particulars of employment within two months of the start of employment. There is, however, no requirement for such a written statement of particulars to be signed.

An employer may (and often will) use alternative documents, namely a contract of employment or letter of engagement, instead of a written statement of particulars, incorporating other terms of employment.

See Practice Note: Written statements of employment particulars—to 5 April 2020 [Archived] for further information.

Express terms of an employment may be oral and/or in writing. A written contract may be effective even if it is not signed.

It is, however, important to avoid disagreement about precisely what the terms of an employment contract are. Such disagreements are more likely if the contract is agreed orally (in whole or in part). It is partly for this reason that employers will usually ask the employee to sign the agreed contract of employment, to avoid any such disagreement.

Since there is no need under the law of England and

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