HR Electronic Records

New Zealand - Natively Electronic Documents

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What is the legal value of native electronic documents (that do not require signature by the parties)?

The majority of legislation generally recognizes the validity and probative value of documents that are natively electronic (i.e., created as electronic originals), subject to compliance requirements.


Under New Zealand’s Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017, information cannot be denied legal validity solely for being in an electronic form or for being an electronic communication (Art. 211). In addition, when there is a requirement that information must be recorded in writing, that requirement is met for electronic documents as long as the information is readily accessible so it can be used for future reference (Art. 22). If a person is required to retain information contained in an electronic communication, the electronic communication’s origin, destination, time sent, and time received must also be retained (Art. 231).


Therefore, HR records which do not require a signature (e.g. employee handbooks, benefit documents, letters of intent, etc.) can be created directly in electronic form, without need for a paper original.

Ultimate Software's HR Compliance Assist team relies on a network of internal and external compliance experts and lawyers to provide clients with best practices and recommendations on topics such as HR document retention, employee data privacy, and HR electronic records. HR Compliance Assist also provides local compliance monitoring and alert services in select countries where Ultimate Software's customers have employees. HR Compliance Assist is a service exclusively available to Ultimate Software customers.

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