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Unsigned or missing employment contracts


26 September 2023

As busy business owners and managers, life gets busy. Sometimes we do all the right things by drafting the employment agreement and sending it to the new employee, but never receive the signed employment contract back. What happens then?

The absence or misplacement of a signed contract can create the impression that the agreement is non-existent. However, there are other factors to consider. 

A contract is considered accepted when both the employer and employee behave as though a signed contract is in effect. Some of the way that may prove that a contractual relationship exists between the employer and employee are:

  • Commenced work as per agreed start date.
  • Performing duties as agreed
  • Being paid regularly
  • Has access to all employee entitlements provided by employer

For an employee, in the absence of a signed employment agreement or contract, the National Employment Standards, along with the applicable Award rates and entitlements and rights under any other legislations come into effect.

Although a contract that has been endorsed by both the employer and the employee is always more desirable, in cases where an unsigned contract is present, establishing its legitimacy will rely on the particulars and context associated with it.

How can employers go about updating records? When an employer reviewing an employee’s pay, or if there’s a transition to a different role or a promotion, it presents an opportunity to provide an updated employment contract that encompass any necessary modifications.

If you have no employment agreements or perhaps some that have not been signed and want to have more confidence, speak to Impact HR about our confirmation of employment process.  This enables employers to ensure that all of their employees are on the same contract with the same terms and conditions to ensure everyone is treated fairly. For more information reach out on 1300 474 672 or via

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