The need for online or remote-access technology is greater than ever in light of COVID-19. After all, these solutions allow for powerful HR management without the need to forego social distancing or risk the health of your workforce! Though it may be in everyone’s self-interest, maintaining proper compliance is still a huge concern for employers... especially when it comes to electronic signatures.
Whether it be new hire documents (company policies, onboarding forms, etc.) or the signing of an arbitration, furlough, or other agreement, you need to make sure your system is compliant with all the requirements surrounding e-signatures.
E-Signatures and the Law
It goes without saying, but federal and state laws do uphold the legal validity of electronic forms and signatures. In fact, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN) expressly state that agreements may not be denied legal effect because they are in electronic form or have electronic or digital signatures. To be clear, the electronic signature refers to any electronic process that indicates acceptance of an agreement or record, and digital signature refers to a certificate-based digital ID to authenticate a signer’s identity.
These are widely accepted throughout U.S., regardless of state. However, due to an overabundance of court cases concerning e-signature validity or the wrongful use of e-signatures by employers, the enforceability of e-signatures has been increasingly clarified over the years and is not absolute. Since many states have contributed additional guidelines for maintaining lawful use of e-signatures, it’s important that you review your state’s rulings to ensure total compliance.
Is Your Onboarding System Following the Rules?
If your HR onboarding system includes e-signature capabilities, it is critical that it upholds compliance fully. Universal best practices for valid e-signature use, include:
- Obtaining consent to process official forms electronically, including proof that employees affirmatively agree to complete their related documents digitally.
- Providing employees the clear choice to opt-out of electronically signing an agreement (with clear instructions on alternative manual agreement options).
- Issuing a secure username and password to each employee for individual access to HR system and e-signature documents. This helps guarantee that the e-signatures on particular agreements are in fact the “act of” the employee.
- Distributing finalized copies of all documents signed by your employee promptly upon completion.
- Informing employees that they should review all documents before finalizing electronic signature submittal.
- Ensuring that every electronic signature is accompanied by an accurate date and time stamp, along with the IP address of the device the employee used for signing.
E-Signatures with EPAY Systems
At EPAY Systems, we strive to make all aspects of compliance easier for our customers. Our onboarding documentation solution fulfills all the previously mentioned guidelines and more. In fact, we include two types of optional e-signatures:
- Custom Submit Messages: e-signature at the end of an entire program (i.e. e-signature at end of New Hire Forms program as well as the Benefits Enrollment program)
- Approval Box: e-signatures on a particular form (i.e. e-signature after the handbook page, dress code policy form, etc.)
During implementation, you get to decide exactly where your organization wants these e-signatures: not only which forms to include them on, but their placements within each form as well. Our solution allows you to configure your own onboarding documents and reports this way. It can also send these desired forms through automatic workflows for optimum efficiency and track employee consent via an e-signature as well!
With EPAY’s Workflow Library and Form Library, you will be able to include an electronic signature consent form at the beginning of each of your workflows for optimum ease. That way, your employees can accept electronic consent and enter their electronic signature to continue the onboarding process. If they choose to decline, a PDF document of the consent form is generated and stored in the Document Repository at client level. Either way, all relevant parties are notified effortlessly.