Do employment contracts need to be witnessed?

One employment lawyer explains who can sign employment contracts and whether there needs to be a witness in attendance

Under Singapore law, employment contracts only require a witness when there is a possibility of dispute, Gloria James-Civetta, managing partner of Gloria James-Civetta & Co, told HRD.
If there is uncertainty whether the party or parties signing are of sound mind or have the capacity to enter into a valid contract, a witness is usually recommended.
“Anyone who is above 21 years old, of sound mind and is not a party to the contract can be considered a credible witness,” she said.
A signature can only be declared invalid if the party signing did not have the legal or mental capacity to enter into the contract, James-Civetta added. Circumstances include if the person is too young or does not have the authority to sign.
“It's interesting to note that in the Singapore context, an 18 year old can sign his or her own contract now.”
This younger age limit is tied to the enactment of the Minors’ Contracts Act (Cap 389) which permits anyone between 18 and 21 years of age to enter into a contract, she added.
When looking at the firm’s legal obligations, James-Civetta noted that only employees with actual and/or implied authority can sign on behalf of an employer.
“Actual authority means that there is a formal written notification or letter of authority that the employee is duly authorised to enter into contracts on behalf of the company, such as a director.”
On the other hand, employees with implied authority in this context are usually those with ‘hire and fire’ powers, usually employees with a managerial position, she said.
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