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Is it a statutory requirement for an employee to sign that he/she has accepted a contract and handbook?

No, there is no legal requirement for the employee to sign off that he/she has accepted or received the contract. However, it is highly recommended that the employer makes reasonable efforts to reach agreement with the employee on the contract and to have the contract signed by the employee. In situations where an employee does refuse to sign the contract, the employer is advised to retain records as proof that the employee was actually issued with the contract of employment. The employer is obliged to sign the contract.  

There is no statutory requirement for a handbook. Certain documents such as disciplinary procedures and grievance procedures are required but some employers include them in contracts. The handbook is however a useful tool for clarifying rules and regulations and general terms and conditions for employees and can help avoid conflict and misunderstandings and in the event of a dispute can provide a guideline on resolving it.

Although it is not an obligation, it would be advisable to get the employees to sign off on all the documents if possible. It creates a record of the employee having received them. If they don’t, then the employer should keep a record of having given the handbook to the employee. One suggestion is to give a letter along with the handbook stating that he/she has two weeks to come back with any questions. If they don’t, it will be assumed that they have understood and accepted the documents. It places the onus on the employee to raise whatever issues he/she has rather than reject the document wholesale. The same applies to a contract/ written terms and conditions.



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