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Digital Signatures, Documents and Archiving in HR: A Layman’s Guide to eIDAS and Belgian Law

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Digital Signatures, Documents and Archiving in HR Guide to eIDAS and Belgian Law

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In today’s digital age, signing employment contracts electronically has become increasingly common. But what does this mean for you, as an employee or employer, especially in Belgium? Let’s demystify this with a focus on two key legal aspects: the eIDAS Regulation (EU No. 910/2014 of July 23, 2014) and Belgian Law (The Law of January 15, 2018 – Wet houdende diverse bepalingen inzake werk – Loi portant des dispositions diverses en matière d’emploi, more specifically articles 18 and 19).

 

Signing

Firstly, the eIDAS Regulation, particularly Article 25, makes it clear: an electronic signature cannot be refused in legal settings just because it’s digital. This EU regulation ensures that your digital signature on an employment contract is as valid as a traditional handwritten one. If you wish to sign digitally, that can not be refused, it has to be accepted.

 

Archiving

Now, turning to Belgian Law, specifically Article 16 of the Law of June 3, 2007, there’s an additional layer. This law talks about electronic archiving of employment documents. It stipulates that certain employment-related documents, including potentially your digitally signed contract, need to be archived electronically. But not just anywhere – they must be stored with a qualified electronic archiving service. This means your digitally signed employment contract is not only legally valid but also securely stored and retrievable when needed.

In summary, if you’re in Belgium and opt to sign your employment contract digitally, rest assured, it’s legally binding per eIDAS Article 25. Plus, Belgian law requires that this contract, along with other specified employment documents, be archived electronically with a certified provider, ensuring both legality and security.

 

Art. 18 – 19

The following gives an overview and explanation of Art. 16 that deals specifically with the topic of the electronic exchange and archiving of documents related to employment in Belgium:

 

  • Electronic Archiving of Employment Contracts: An electronic copy of the employment contract must be stored with an electronic archiving service provider or, if not available, by the employer themselves, complying with the requirements of the Economic Law Code (WER) regarding qualified electronic archiving.

  • Definition of Electronic Archiving Service: As defined in Article I.18, 17° WER, it’s a trust service complementing eIDAS, involving the preservation of electronic data or digitization of physical documents, offered by a trust service provider as per eIDAS or operated by a public authority or private entity.

  • Cost-Free and Accessible to Employees: The storage of the contract should not incur any costs for the employee, who must have continuous access to the stored document. The preservation is guaranteed for at least five years after the contract’s termination.

  • Specific Documents for Electronic Exchange and Archiving: Individual accounts, worker service statements, and salary breakdowns.

 

This blend of EU and Belgian regulations showcases how law keeps pace with technology, ensuring your digital interactions and contracts are as legitimate and secure as their paper counterparts. Remember, in our digital world, legal compliance and Trust are just a click away!

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