What if the Contract is Unsigned?

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How many times have you given a contract of employment to an employee who has then, for whatever reasons, not got round to signing and returning it?

The reasons for not signing the contract may simply be an oversight on the part of the employee but could also be an attempt to stop that the terms and condition of the contract from coming into force.

If an employee objects to a specific clause and talks to you about it, then you should discuss the situation with them and come to an agreement.

However, if the employee remains silent and simply fails to sign the document, there is a legal principle called implied acceptance which could be triggered if they begin or continue to work without specifically raising any objections to any of the terms. The longer this continues, the higher the chance that this principle of implied acceptance will apply.

It is not advisable however to allow the non-signing of a contract to continue long term and it could end up with the final decision being made by the Tribunal.

When handing out contracts whether to new employees or updated contracts to existing employees, we recommend that you write to them confirming that you expect them to have written to you outlining any concerns by a particular date; if they have no queries then to return the signed document to you by a particular date; and tell them if the contract is not signed and returned as requested and no query has been raised you will assume that the employee has accepted the terms as they have continued to work without any objection.

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