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Can you hire someone without signing a written contract? Here's what the law states

by , 17 March 2015
You started an ice-cream company recently but your sales aren't growing. After thoroughly evaluating the situation, you realise you need more help, so you decided to find a talented Sales Manager.

You put together a job description, advertise the job, start interviewing people and finally you found the right person. And of course you want to hire him as soon as possible.

But drafting his employment contract will take some time, so you're thinking you'll skip this step and rely on a verbal agreement with your new employee. Can you really do this? What does the law say?

Read on to find out

What are the legal provisions on verbal employment contracts?

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According to the South African Labour Law, you can conclude an employment either orally or in writing, for a definite or indefinite period.
However, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act requires you give written statement of particulars to the workers at the start of their employment, which should include "employer & worker details, employment details (job description, working hours), remuneration details (wage rate and overtime pay rate, wage payment interval and deductions from remuneration), leave details, notice and contract duration".  

In the event of these particulars being subjected to any change, you must give your employee a copy of the document reflecting the change in the situation. These conditions aren't applicable, though, to workers you've employed for less than 24 hours, workers employed for less than 24 hours a month or if you employ less than five employees, as the Act stipulates in Section 28-29.

So if concluded verbal employment contract will get things rolling for you sooner rather than later, rest assured that this is perfectly legal.

And if you have any other questions regarding the legal provisions for employment or anything else to do with employment contracts you can ask our experts on the Labour and HR Club.

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