It doesn’t matter if you’re a remote worker, government employee, or a cubicle slave; as long as you’re working for someone else, requesting a certificate of employment is like a rite of passage you won’t escape. It’s proof that you worked (or currently work) at a particular company and, depending on who’s requesting the certificate, may be used as a basis for your employment with a new company, evidence of your solid ties to the Philippines (for visa applications), or a validation of your capacity to pay (for loan applications).
But how do you exactly file a request for a certificate of employment? In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on the certificate of employment, plus the only template you need to create a request letter for a certificate of employment in the country.
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Free Download: Request Letter for Certificate of Employment Sample Template
Don’t waste time writing a request letter for certificate of employment from scratch. Using our free downloadable template, you must fill in the required details, print the request letter, and submit it to the intended recipient.
- Request Letter for Certificate of Employment Sample Template [Word]
- Request Letter for Certificate of Employment Sample Template [PDF]
What Is a Request Letter for Certificate of Employment?
Before we go over the details of a request letter for a certificate of employment, it’s only appropriate to explain what the certificate is really for.
By definition, a certificate of employment verifies your employment status by providing details about your employer, the position you filled in the company, the salary, and how long you served in the said position. Although a dismissed worker is entitled to the certificate1, you don’t have to be terminated before you can avail of the certificate of employment. This is true for employees requesting the certificate for a travel visa or credit card application.
Therefore, getting a certificate of employment is an inherent right of all employees, and no employer is allowed by law to deny an employee of such right. One caveat, though: Although you’re entitled to get a certificate of employment, you are not allowed to request or dictate the content included in the certificate. It will be up to your employer what information will be disclosed and how it will be presented.
To get a certificate of employment, you must request the company’s human resources department to issue one. This request can be verbal or written2, although most HR departments prefer the latter for record-keeping purposes. The request letter for certificate of employment is usually written on the company’s official letterhead. It is usually addressed to the hiring manager or the chief of the company’s human resources (HR) department.
The request letter includes the following crucial details:
- Name and address of the company
- Name and position of the addressee (i.e., the intended recipient of the letter)
- Employee’s name, position, and tenure
- Reason/purpose of the request
- List of information requested
- Deadline for the request (must be specific)
Who Can Request for a Certificate of Employee (COE)?
All employees, regardless of current employment status or type, are entitled to a certificate of employment (COE).
To be considered an employee, one should pass the four-fold test3, which confirms the presence of an employer-employee relationship. To pass the test, there must be (a) the selection and engagement of the employee, (b) the payment of wages, (c) the power of dismissal, and (d) the employer’s power to control the employee on the means and methods by which the work is accomplished.
In other words, you’re considered an employee and are therefore entitled to a COE if you’re one of the following:
- A current employee, whether active or rendering, who is still working for the company
- A separated employee who used to be employed by the company but has left due to termination, separation/end of contract, or resignation
As shown above, both current and former employees can get a COE. The certificate is issued as part of the exit process, so the employee should have received it before leaving for a new job opportunity. If the company fails to issue the certificate, the former employee still has the right to obtain one, even if it’s already months or years since his/her departure. Companies that refuse to issue a COE after repeated requests must be reported to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which will issue an official order so the employer will be forced to release the COE.
Employees should be given a COE, regardless of employment category. This means that part-time, seasonal, fixed-term, contractual, probationary, or regular employees can all avail of their COEs. Even those absent without leave (AWOL) are still connected to their company; hence, they’re entitled to a certificate of employment.
Who Issues the Certificate of Employment (COE)?
Employers are mandated by law to issue the certificate of employment to their current or former employees. However, some people are hired outside the traditional employer-employee arrangement, making obtaining a COE less straightforward.
- If you worked or are currently operating under a contractor or subcontractor, the said contracting/subcontracting party is technically your employer. Therefore, you should request the COE from the contractor/subcontractor, not the principal client/employer.
- Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) must get their COEs from their foreign employers. If the employer refuses or can’t issue the certificate, they can request the same from the local recruitment agency through which they got the job. According to the rule on joint and solidary liability4, this is accepted since local agencies are considered indirect employers liable for Filipino workers’ employment or overseas deployment claims.
- If you’re an independent contractor (i.e., freelancer), your client is not obligated to pay your taxes and government contributions on your behalf. This is because you’re not considered an employee, which means they won’t be able to issue you a certificate of employment. However, independent contractors may request an alternative document called a Certificate of Service (COS) or an Attestation instead. The COS or Attestation details the contractor’s role in the company and attests to how long the contractor provided or has provided his/her services.
How To Write a Certificate of Employment Request Letter
Writing a request letter for certificate of employment is straightforward, especially if you already have a template to work on. The sample letter of request template shown below is the one we’re offering that you can download for free. Supply all the requested details, and it’s good to go.
For quick reference, we’ll discuss the essential parts of the request letter individually, ensuring you know what detail to provide and what it’s for.
- Business Letterhead. The business letterhead at the topmost section of the letter shows the company’s or the organization’s logo, name, address, website, and contact information. Most companies don’t specify a template you must use when creating a request letter, so this embellishment may be added to make your letter look more professional. However, adding this part is non-negotiable for those whose company policy recommends that the template include a business letterhead.
- Date. This part specifies the date the letter will be submitted to the HR department and read by the intended recipient.
- Name and Position of the Addressee. Ensure you already know the position and name of the person who will accept and read your letter, so you won’t be stuck with the usual “To Whom It May Concern” formula that you can find at the beginning of every generic letter. Specifying the recipient’s name makes inserting a more personalized salutation easier. It also adds a touch of professionalism to your letter, as it will show the recipient that you’ve done your research.
- Opening Salutation. This part usually starts with the standard “Dear” to address the person being written to. As much as possible, use something other than the recipient’s first name; you only do that if you know the person well, which is usually not the case with HR heads that employees rarely interact with. Instead, address the recipient using “Mr.” or “Ms.” followed by his/her surname. In the rare instance that there’s no specific person available to receive your letter (see the previous entry), you can use the generic “To Whom It May Concern” formula.
- Body of the Letter. The request letter’s meatiest and most crucial part is divided into three sections. First is the introduction, where you will introduce your name, position, and period of employment. This is also where you explicitly state the name of the certificate you’re requesting and the details you want to be included in the said employment certificate. This is followed by an explanation of the purpose behind your request for a certificate of employment and other supporting details you think are necessary. Closing the letter is the respectful specification of the date when you need the certificate, giving the recipient some sense of urgency and preventing your request from being perpetually stuck in the company’s to-do list.
- Closing Salutation. Before ending the letter, it’s always appropriate to thank the recipient for dedicating time to read your letter. Finally, you can conclude the letter with a closing salutation like “Respectfully,” “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” “Yours truly,” and “Regards,” among others.
Reasons To Make a Request for a Certificate of Employment
When you’re requesting a certificate of employment from your current or former employer, you usually want to accomplish one of these goals:
- To switch to a new job. Whether it’s a local or overseas job, you need a certificate of employment to prove to your prospective employer that you’re qualified to do the job and have the experience to back it up. The certificate is tangible proof of your qualifications, knowledge, and skills gained at a particular company and will be helpful in your next job opportunity.
- To apply for a visa. Tourist visas like Japan and Schengen allow holders to travel and stay in a foreign country for a limited period. To be issued one of these visas, you must prove to the Consulate that you have solid ties to the Philippines. And one of the documents that can prove it is a certificate of employment. By submitting this document, you’ll be able to convince them that you have a job to return to, and you won’t risk losing this job by overstaying on foreign soil.
- To secure a loan or credit card. Financial products like credit cards and loans are only offered to people who can pay monthly fees/amortizations. To prove that you can pay, you must establish your creditworthiness to the lending institution by submitting a certificate of employment. This certificate hits two birds with one stone: in addition to proving that you are currently employed (source of income), it can also display, upon request to HR, your monthly salary, which is an indicator of one’s capacity to pay off the monthly obligations.
- To subscribe to a postpaid internet plan. Internet service providers (ISPs) usually require first-time applicants to submit a certificate of employment. This is to prove that they have a stable job and can pay the monthly Internet subscription fees. The postpaid plans usually come with a device like a mobile phone, laptop, or tablet. The heftier the monthly payments, the stricter the requirements. With the certificate of employment, the ISPs can lower their chances of dealing with a delinquent subscriber.
- To rent a property. To filter applicants, landlords usually ask for a certificate of employment. This certificate verifies a person’s identity and gives landlords a clear idea of one’s financial standing, which, in turn, offers a clue to one’s capability to pay the monthly rental obligations.
Sample Request Letter for Certificate of Employment for New Job Application
Applying for a new job? Hiring managers usually require a certificate of employment to prove that the job details you have indicated on your resume are true. Without an employment certificate, they won’t have any basis for your competency or the salary range that someone with an experience like yours deserves. To write a request letter for certificate of employment for a new job application, follow the template below.
Sample Request Letter for Certificate of Employment for Loan Application
Government and private financial institutions require applicants to provide proof of income as part of documentary requirements for loan applications. The certificate of employment is the most common proof of income for employed professionals, and you can request one from your HR with the help of the downloadable template below.
Sample Request Letter for Certificate of Employment for Travel/Visa Application
To prevent issuing tourist visas to Filipinos who have plans of overstaying and migrating illegally to their destination country, Consulates of foreign countries usually require visa applicants to provide proof of employment. This document, specifically the certificate of employment, will prove your solid ties to the Philippines and convince the visa screener that you only intend to use the visa for traveling purposes. To prepare a request letter for certificate of employment for travel/visa application, we recommend using the template below.
How To Request a Certificate of Employment
The process of requesting a certificate of employment may vary depending on the company you’re working for (or worked for). However, most companies in the country follow an almost similar approach, detailed in the following steps.
1. Know your company’s policy on issuing a certificate of employment
Every company has its protocol for requesting and releasing the certificate of employment. Your responsibility as an employee (whether current or former) is to verify with the HR department or company handbook the requirements needed and the exact timeline followed when issuing employment certificates.
Depending on your company, you will secure a signed endorsement form from your manager or directly submit the request to the HR head. Once you gain a clearer picture of what it’s like to obtain a certificate of employment in your company, that’s the time when you’re ready to write a draft of the request letter.
2. Prepare the request letter for certificate of employment
To draft a certificate of employment request letter, you must first know the ingredients of an effective one. We’ve already laid out these components in a previous section, but we’ll repeat it here for your convenience.
To summarize, you must know the specific name and position of the person to whom the letter is addressed so you can adequately address him/her in your opening salutation. Start the letter with an introduction where you indicate your name, position, and period of employment. Explain the purpose of your request and mention any specific details (e.g., your monthly salary) you want included in the certificate of employment.
Finally, provide a particular due date when you expect to receive the certificate; this way, you establish a sense of urgency and set the right expectations for both parties.
3. Submit the request letter to the company’s HR division
In most companies in the Philippines, employees who need a certificate of employment usually make the request personally or via email. Although an in-person request is ideal, you can also file the request online via email as long as you’ve notified the concerned authority beforehand. In addition to the soft copy of the request letter, include in your email vital personal details that will expedite your request. These details include your name, job title, employment dates, and other information relevant to your request.
4. Follow up with the company HR
After submitting the request letter, the company must issue the certificate of employment within three (3) days, as per DOLE Labor Advisory No. 6, series of 2020. The processing time may take longer, especially for resigned employees, for which DOLE still needs to provide specific guidelines.
Suppose the company is taking longer or refusing to issue a COE. In that case, you must file a complaint at the nearest DOLE Regional, Provincial, or Field Office with jurisdiction over your current/former workplace. In most cases, however, the COE has yet to be issued because the HR professional is too busy to glance at it. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to make follow-up requests via phone or email; this way, HR will be able to update you about the request’s status and if any additional information may be needed from you.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is the certificate of employment the same as the clearance?
No. Whereas the certificate of employment proves that you’ve worked for the company (either as a former or current employee), the clearance clears you of any responsibility or obligation in the company. All employees are required to secure a clearance before officially leaving the company. You can obtain clearance by surrendering all company properties under your possession and getting the signatures of different company departments. Once you have been issued a clearance, you can receive your back pay, certificate of employment, tax document, etc.
2. How long does it take for the employer to issue the certificate of employment?
According to the DOLE Labor Advisory No. 6, series of 2020, the certificate of employment must be issued within three (3) days upon request.
3. My former employer refuses to issue the certificate of employment despite multiple requests. What should I do?
It’s illegal for any employer to withhold their employee’s back pay or certificate of employment, regardless of whether the employee left the company without any issues or was terminated for violating a company policy.
To force the company to comply, send a final request letter to the head of HR and CC all senior managers. In the letter, please point out the specific laws they’re violating and attach a copy of the DOLE Labor Advisory detailing the rules for issuing back pay and COE. Make it clear that if you don’t receive any response to this letter, you will be forced to take legal action and file a complaint at the DOLE office with jurisdiction over the company.
- Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code (1989).
- ‘Labor Advisory No. 06, Series of 2020 (Guidelines on the Payment of Final Pay and Issuance of Certificate of Employment)’ (2020) DOLE.gov.ph. Available at: https://www.dole.gov.ph/php_assets/uploads/2020/02/Labor-Advisory-No.-06-20-Guidelines-on-the-Payment-of-Final-Pay-and-Issuance-of-Certificate-of-Emplo.pdf (Accessed: 18 September 2023).
- Romeo Alba, Petitioner, v. Conrado G. Espinosa, et al., Respondents (2017).
- POEA Rules & Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Land-Based Overseas Workers (2002).