Q: My employee can’t read or write. How do I get her to sign the employment contract?

My employee can’t read or write


When a person is illiterate, s/he can “mark” a document, eg with an “X” or a fingerprint, and South African law recognises this as being his/her signature. But make sure that the terms of the agreement are clearly explained before requiring him/her to mark the contract of employment. Section 29 (3) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act provides that if an employee is not able to understand the particulars of employment, it is the employer’s duty to ensure that these particulars are explained to the employee in a language and in a manner that the employee understands.

Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.