Some organizations assess your work history before interviewing you or making a job offer. A certificate of employment (COE) helps them easily verify your experience or employment status.
Let’s discover what a certificate of employment is and how to ask your employer for it.
What is a Certificate of Employment in the Philippines?
A COE contains specific information about your experience at your previous or current company. In general, this certificate declares that:
- Your employer hired you.
- You performed specific tasks and responsibilities within a certain period.
What Details are Included in a COE?
According to the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code of the Philippines, a COE usually contains your first and last day at work. Your employer may also state your duties and responsibilities or positions held while working for them.
Sometimes, your HR department may include other information in your COE, like your current pay or overall performance at work.
When Can You Request a COE?
Now that you know what a COE is, you may ask, “When should I get one from my employer?”
In most cases, you can request a COE if you’re:
Applying for a New Job
Potential employers check your employment history during the candidate assessment process. A certificate of employment shows that you’re qualified for the position you’re applying for because of your work experience.
Getting a Loan or Credit Card
You can also request a COE if you’re applying for a loan or credit card. A bank may require this document to verify that you’re employed and can make the required payments. In this case, you can request your employer or HR officer to include your current pay in your COE.
Applying for a Travel Visa
A COE can help you get a travel visa from another country. If you’re working, you can assure foreign authorities that you’re returning home after your visit. It’s why people submit COEs to the embassies of the countries they plan to visit.
Who Can Request a Certificate of Employment?
All employees are entitled to a COE. Companies can provide former or current workers, regardless of tenure or the type of employment, with this document.
So, whether you’re a long-time employee who recently left a company or a part-time worker, you can ask for and receive a COE.
Can AWOL Employees Get a Certificate of Employment?
Workers considered AWOL (absent without leave) employees are still connected to their company; thus, they’re entitled to a COE. As mentioned, current employees can request the document from their employers.
Who Should Issue Your COE?
Typically, your employer will provide you with a COE directly. However, some types of employment follow a different process when releasing these certificates.
- Contractual or sub-contractual work: Your employer (the contractor or sub-contractor) should give you a COE. A client can’t issue the certificate to you.
- Overseas employment: Your foreign employer should issue a COE to you. Otherwise, you can request the document from your employment agency.
- Work as an independent contractor or freelancer: Your clients can give you a certificate of service (COS) or an attestation verifying that they’ve worked with you within a specified period. You can present any of these documents to future employers or clients instead of a COE.
Can My Employer Refuse to Give Me a Certificate of Employment?
In some cases, your company may withhold a COE despite your request.
The situation may arise if your employer hired you as a contractual or project-based worker or terminated your employment for a just or legal cause. Also, your employer may only give you a COE once you complete the clearance process.
If you check the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Philippine Labor Code, it doesn’t mention types of termination and employment. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)’s Labor Advisory No. 06-20 and the Philippine Labor Code’s Omnibus Rules state that COEs only help verify employees' work for their company. Hence, your employer should issue your COE after you file a request.
What’s the Difference Between a COE & Clearance Form?
A COE is different from a work clearance document. It proves that you’ve worked for your former or current employer.
Meanwhile, a clearance form lists unfinished work and unfulfilled responsibilities. It also ensures you’ve returned all employer-issued supplies and equipment in good condition. An accomplished clearance form declares you’ve completed all necessary tasks before leaving the company.
How Do I Get a Certificate of Employment?
If you need a COE from your employer, contact your HR officer. You can ask for a certificate through a verbal or written request.
For a COE request letter, include the following details:
- Why you’re writing the letter - Tell your employer or HR officer you need a certificate of employment and why you need it.
- What to include in your COE - List the details you want your employer to include in your COE, like your current position (or all the roles and job title changes), date of employment and termination, and salary (if necessary).
- When you need the certificate - Ask your employer or HR officer if they can issue your COE within a specific timeframe.
Remember to include other important details in your request letter as well, including the company’s address (if you’ve already resigned), the date of sending the letter, your full name, and contact information.
Finally, write a simple request. Your employer should understand why you’re asking for a COE and what the document should contain.
When Should My Employer Issue the Certificate?
In its Labor Advisory on final pay, DOLE encourages employers to issue COEs within three days from the date of request. However, the department doesn’t state how long employers can issue a COE to resigned employees.
DOLE doesn’t mention specific reasons companies issue COEs to former employees, either. After all, some employers may have removed the records of these workers from their databases.
Integrate Seamless HR Document Management into Your Workflow
A certificate of employment in the Philippines gives organizations a clearer picture of your employment history, from your employment status to other relevant details. Your employer should provide you with this document once you ask for it. But if your company processes COEs manually, delays may happen.
Digital employee management systems, like Sprout’s HR platform, help your HR team streamline document management and other critical processes. Learn more about our comprehensive HR solution on its product page, or get more work hacks from our blog.