The enforceability of unsigned employment contracts

Is an unsigned contract of employment enforceable?

Contracts of employment form the basis of the working relationship between an employer and an employee. However what are the legal implications for the validity of the contract should it remain unsigned?

Although each case will always depend on its particular circumstances, an unsigned employment contract is perfectly capable of being regarded by a court or the Fair Work Commission as the basis of the relationship if the parties have acted as though it is the embodiment of the terms of the relationship which are dealt with by it. For example the employment relationship may well, and often does, commence as soon as an offer of employment is accepted. By starting work, an employee will, all else being equal in that situation, be held to have to have asserted that he or she has accepted the employer’s terms and conditions.