What is the difference between a valid and an effective document?

Last updated: 2021-07-28

Valid vs. effective document, company policy, or work procedure

The difference between a valid document and an effective document is when people or processes have to follow it. Validity and effectiveness are legal terms and are used for both laws and internal regulations of an organization, such as company policies, guidelines, work procedures, etc.

  • A document becomes valid when published or promulgated - so people can read it in its official, final form.
  • The document becomes effective on the date on which people and processes must behave and follow it.

For example, a particular company policy is effective from January 1, the date on which it must be followed, but has been published and available since November 1. From this time, employees can familiarise themselves with it.