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5 Things Employers Must Know When Writing A Certificate of Employment

5 Things Employers Must Know When Writing A Certificate of Employment

With flexible working arrangements taking lead during these times, working conditions have adjusted accordingly. These include the implementation of skeletal manning, more remote opportunities, and the distribution of traditional documents. The Certificate of Employment is such an example--and many questions as to what a COE is (or is not) has been the topic of much discussion.

As an official document, the COE is of vital importance. Therefore, it is crucial for employers to be able to maintain balance and objectivity in writing and offering COEs. And more importantly, to be able to expertly handle any questions that may arise--and will be tackled in this article with detailed tips!

What is a COE and when should you issue one?

Simply put, it is a document that details an employee’s working history within your company. The COE contains their personal information, the period of rendered service, and the termination date (if ever).

The purpose of a COE is to verify whether a person worked in your company or not. This document greatly helps for legal and financial reasons, among others.

Apart from this, it is also a legally binding document. In some companies, it can also be used as a government document or official letter for submission purposes.

Who can ask for a Certificate of Employment?

As mandated by the Department of Labor, employees have the right to ask for one at any point in their life for whatever requirement. Here are three common needs for them listed below:

1. Travel visa applications Depending on the country you are travelling to, 90% of immigration offices require a COE. This is because they want to ensure that you have the necessary funds to legally finance your traveling. Other than that, having a COE eliminates the doubt of illegally staying beyond a declared travel period.

2. Employee requirements If your employee informs you about a new opportunity they landed, one of the hiring requirements is to submit a COE. Employers from other companies can utilize this document as a subtle background check on performance.

3. Financial Requisitions This applies to both loans and credit cards. While both differ in need, they share something in common. Just like for travel requirements, banks and loan officers require proof that you have the capacity to pay off what you borrow.

Furthermore, they can ring your company up and inform you of any payment delinquency within.

What do you need to know about the COE?

Now that you have a sense of the purposes COEs provide, how should you start? Here are five things to take note of when making one.

1. You cannot withhold issuance The Department of Labor (DOLE) mandates this. Employees have a right to collect this certificate at any point, including the period following resignation. In fact, employers must release COEs three (3) days after the employee’s request was made. Non-compliance with this rule results in penalties.

Despite these, there are still some employers who withhold COEs. Here are some possible reasons:

  • Dismissal with just cause. This means that an employee has been terminated for legal reasons. Examples of these could be poor performance review, or breaking the employee handbook, to name a few.Employees that have been terminated are eligible to apply for COE. So as long as they render the work for a period of time, they can get it.

  • No employer/employee relationship.

    Such a definition usually refers to contractual or project-based employees.Employees that

    can receive their COE. The test refers to DOLE’s criteria determining the fulfillment of the employer-employee relationship. These are:

    • Employer’s power to control the employee’s means to work

    • Capacity to give wages

    • Selection of employee

    • Power to dismiss

  • Employee has not been cleared. Employers sometimes withhold COEs due to unfinished clearances.But it is important to note that COEs are not equal to employee clearances. Both differ in a sense that the former refers to proof of employment. The latter refers to the liabilities that the employee has yet to clear. Thus, the latter is not a means to retrieve the former. They do not even correlate.

2. Work history can be as detailed as possible Most employers ask this. “Am I able to be transparent when it comes to placing my employee’s work history on the COE?” The answer is yes. This is a core component of the certificate.

With that said, can sharing employee delinquencies and terminations be stated? Yes, as long as there is no overstep like libel or falsified information placed on the COE.

3. It is not a place to air dirty laundry While delinquency can be stated here, a COE should not be used as a personal attack against your employee. You should also be able to take note of your employee’s requests to “trim the fat.” What does that mean? This refers to the way the COE is written.

Prior to the composition of the document, employees can request to edit the way certain information is written. You still have the final say, but you can also adhere to your employee if need be.

Along with that point, keep the COE as professional and as factual as possible. If the new employer calls for a background check, you can share certain information. But keep in mind that when such a conversation arises, make sure that the stories you relay align with what was written in the certificate.

If you are not sure of what to place, you can always check in with the aforementioned employee first.

4. Treat this as your employee’s golden ticket This rings true especially with good employees who want to pursue other paths. They usually ask this of you in good faith. And if they have served you well, why withhold this from them? Use the COE as a chance for your employee to gain new opportunities outside of your company.

Who knows? This certificate could help your employee climb the corporate ladder and find the success they seek.

5. There is no uniform format COEs differ in composition. It ultimately depends on how you want to write it as the employer. This is a document that requires both the employee and employer to collaborate on what to place.

You may opt to download the template we have available for you. This is so you can have a sense of what you can put there. Be it extended or simple, it is your final say on what the document will contain. Your employee also has as much input as you do, but you ultimately hold that power.

[COMPANY LOGO HERE] CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYMENT This is to certify that Juan dela Cruz was an employee of XYZ Company from October 10, 2004 up to December 15, 2020 as a Bartender. This certification is being issued to Mr Bermudez for whatever legal purpose it may serve. Given this 10th January 2021 at XYZ Company, Legazpi Building, Makati, Philippines.

Creating the Certificate of Employment does not need to be a difficult task. It really only requires three important core parts. You have the personal information, the work history, and the performance assessment. If in doubt, you can always stick to the general information. Be as concise and as factual as possible when writing the document. Your employee will surely appreciate you for that.

Just like caring for your employees, provide opportunities for #JobsThatMatter and find the right candidates with Talent Search. Access one of the largest databases in Southeast Asia and use machine learning to find the right person for the right job. Download our Decoding Global Talent Report for the latest work trends and employee insights. Finally, visit Insights for more expert advice.

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