Electronically signing employment contracts are finally possible

Electronic signatures

An employment contract executed by using an electronic signature generated by an electronic identity card or an electronic signature that meets the same security criteria as the signature generated by the electronic identity card, is considered equivalent to an employment contract bearing a wet ink signature. However, neither the employer nor the employee may be compelled to use the electronic format when concluding an employment contract.

Qualified electronic archiving

Employers must store an electronically signed employment contract with a qualified electronic archiving service. To obtain such qualification, the electronic archiving service provider must meet a list of conditions laid down in Book XII, Title 2 of the Code of Economic Law.


Up to now

No electronic archiving service provider met these conditions.

If an employer opted for an electronic signature, it took the risk of having the validity of the contract challenged in the event of a dispute, notably because the archiving system used did not meet the strict requirements set out in Article 3bis of the Law on Employment Contracts of 3 July 1978.

The reliability of an electronic signature depends largely on how it is stored. This allows verification of the identity of the person signing the contract, confirmation of the authenticity of their consent, and guarantees the integrity of the electronic contract (i.e., that no changes were made).


From now on

With Docbyte becoming the first qualified electronic archiving service provider in Belgium, employers can electronically store signed employment contracts with a qualified electronic archiving service provider and thereby meet the requirements of Article 3bis of the Law on Employment Contracts of 3 July 1978.


A reminder for employers

Work rules must, amongst other mandatory items, specify the identity of the electronic archiving service provider that is responsible for storing employment contracts that were concluded by means of an electronic signature. They must also specify how the employee’s access to this electronically stored document with such service provider is guaranteed, even after termination of the employment relationship.

Employers do not have to follow the ordinary procedure for modifying the work rules if they now offer a system for signing employment contracts electronically. The rules that are intended to ensure publicity of the work rules must nonetheless be complied with (displaying and keeping a copy in every work location, providing a copy to employees and notifying the changes to the social inspection services).

The electronic archiving service is free of charge for employees and must be provided for at least five years after termination of the employment contract. The employee must be guaranteed access to the archived copy of the contract at all times.

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