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What is an e-signature?

What is an e-signature?

Electronic signatures for employment documents

An electronic signature, or an e-signature, is a digital acknowledgement of a contract. According to the Society of Human Resources Management, this acknowledgment can be expressed in any of the following ways:

  • Biometric signatures, such as fingerprint or retina scans.
  • Digital signatures, which use private keys or certificates.
  • Signature capture devices, such as tablets and signature pads.
  • Identity verification services, which use e-mail validation.

Use electronic signatures to simplify HR

Human resources in general requires large amounts of documentation requiring numerous employee signatures. Before electronic signatures, this documentation meant lots and lots of paperwork. The development of the e-signature allows administrators to significantly reduce the amount of paperwork required for each employee.

Many HR professionals use the e-signature capabilities provided HR and benefits software providers such as BerniePortal. These systems collect and document e-signatures for onboarding forms, employee notices and benefits enrollment. Once submitted, the documents and the signatures are stored online without the need for any physical paperwork. By using this technology, administrators can increase efficiencies within human resources management and as a result may benefit from:

  • Decreased time to full productivity
  • Fewer interruptions
  • Less paperwork
  • Automatic documentation

Are there any e-signature regulations?

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) defines an electronic signature as a federal law that extends to all 50 states in cases of federal jurisdiction. This act defines 3 key components of an e-signature:

  • It is a digital transaction marked by a sound, symbol or process.
  • It must be “attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record.”
  • The individual providing the signature must intend to sign the record.


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