Certificate of Employment (COE): Philippines’ Rules, Regulations, and Need-to-Know Facts

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Written by nikki

Everything you need to know about the issuance of the COE (Philippines) and its implementing rules.

Certificate of Employment (COE) Rules in the Philippines

What is a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

A Certificate of Employment (COE) is a document that certifies an employee’s engagement with a company. Typically, it includes the date of engagement with a company, the work they do/did, and their termination date, if applicable.

The certificate should only indicate the employee’s termination from the company if the employee has been separated from work.

Furthermore, the type or nature of the work in the COE must include the position or title held.

What other information is in the COE for employees in the Philippines?

Aside from the necessary information mentioned above, the rest are optional. For example, the employer can decide whether or not to include the reason for the employee’s termination from work.

Suppose the requesting employee has been terminated due to a Just Cause or serious misdemeanor. In that case, the employer is within their legal rights to divulge such information.

However, it might be disadvantageous for the terminated employee, especially if applying for a new job.

Should the COE request be in writing to ensure its release?

As per the DOLE Labor Advisory (LA), the employer must release the COE within three days upon request. The LA 06-20 does not specify whether the request must be made in writing to be considered valid.

Therefore, any form of request, verbal or written, is considered sufficient for the release of COE. Failure to comply is grounds for legal action against the employers.

Related: Steps to request a COE from your employer

What is the legal basis for the COE?

What is the legal basis for the COE?
What is the legal basis for the COE in the Philippines?

DOLE Labor Advisory 06-20

The DOLE Labor Advisory no. 06, series of 2020, lays out the guidelines on the payment of final pay. Furthermore, it covers the issuance of the Certificate of Employment.

This is in accordance with Articles 4, 103, 116, and 118 of the Labor Code and Section 10, Rule XIV, Book V of the Omnibus Rules implementing the labor code.

Related: DOLE Rules on Final Pay in the Philippines

The Omnibus rules implementing the labor code is in Section 10, Certificate of Employment under Rule XIV of Book V. This section states that a worker who has been dismissed from work is still entitled to receive a COE.

Such certificates should specify the dates of the start and end of their work and the nature of the work they performed.

What information does the COE in the Philippines contain?

The Certificate of Employment must contain the employee’s start and termination of employment. Next, it should also include the types or nature of work that the requesting employee is/was involved in.

Other relevant details like the name of the current company or details are at the employer’s discretion. These may include other details about the employee or dismissed worker.

However, they are bound by law to only include information that is factual and is recorded in the employee’s employment history. Otherwise, legal action might be taken against them.

Exclusion of information

The dismissed employee may request the HR officers to include or exclude information in their COE. However, no law can compel or force them to comply with the request. In the end, it is up to them to decide what goes in the COE as representatives of the company.

COEs may include the employee’s salary, relevant awards and achievements, overall performance, and potential for certain duties.

Essentially, the contents of the COE are largely controlled by the employer. However, they should not take this as an opportunity to be mean or get back to a dismissed worker for a transgression they have committed. At the very least, the Certificate of Employment should remain neutral.

NOTE: Here, we take dismissed worker as anyone who was previously employed and is now separated from work regardless of the reason or nature of the termination.

Who can request COE?

As per DOLE Labor Advisory 06-20, all employees and dismissed workers have the right to request and receive a Certificate of Employment, regardless of the status of their employment. Contractual employees, whether currently employed or dismissed, may also request a COE.

What are the uses for COE?

The Certificate of Employment may be requested and used for various reasons. Here are a few of them:

What is the purpose of COE
What is the purpose of COE in the Philippines?

New Job Application

Most companies ask for a COE as a requirement during the application and onboarding process. That is if you indicate that you have worked for another company previously. Sometimes, the company you are applying to will contact your previous company.

This is to check whether you have indeed worked for them and to learn of the nature of your previous work. The COE works as proof of work experience.

Related: DOLE Rules for Resignation in the Philippines

Loan Application

Banks and other loan agencies need guarantees that those who apply for loans with them have the capacity to pay their loans.

One such guarantee is the COE, which certifies that the loan applicant is currently employed and earning.

Some banks and loan agencies require the compensation of the loan applicant to be included in the COE.

Rental Application

Rental companies and agencies, even independent individuals who rent out rooms, houses, or vehicles, may ask for a COE as a requirement to rent properties. The COE will serve as proof that the rent applicant has the ability to pay the rent.

Credit Card Application

The same with loan applications, banks require a COE to avail of a credit card if you’re employed.

The salary indicated in your COE largely affects the approval of a credit card and your maximum credit limit. The COE implies your capacity to pay and up to what amount.

Travel Visa Application

The Certificate of Employment can be provided upon filing for travel visa as a guarantee to foreign country officials of your desire to come back to your country after visiting theirs because of your job.

This helps you secure travel visa to foreign countries you wish to visit. The COE helps convince foreign officials to believe that you only wish to visit, instead of using a travel visa to illegally stay in their country and find work, which is what other people do.

Government Benefits

In order to avail of some government benefits, one of the requirements is the Certificate of Employment. Failure to present a COE may be a reason to be disqualified from such benefits.

How is COE different from Clearance?

Clearance vs. certificate of employment
Clearance vs. COE Philippines

The Clearance and the Certificate of Employment released by the company are two separate entities that serve different purposes.

First, the Certificate of Employment is a document that establishes that the employee is working or has worked for a certain employer for a given period of time.

Although the COE alone is not enough to establish an employer-employee relationship, it does prove the employee’s present or past employment status.

On the other hand, an employment clearance is given to an employee after all their liabilities, tasks, and other responsibilities have been fulfilled and completed.

The clearance lists all unfinished or unsatisfied tasks that need to be completed before the employee can leave after the notice of resignation or termination has been issued. The clearance acts as a ticket to leave the company peacefully and legally.

Read: Learn how to handle employee documents according to the Data Privacy Law.

When can an employee request a Certificate of Employment?

An employee can request for a Certificate of Employment anytime, but etiquette suggests it be done during working hours. The Labor Code of the Philippines obligates the employer to process and release the Certificate of Employment within three days of when the request was made.

How can an employee get a Certificate of Employment?

To get a Certificate of Employment, an employee must submit a request to the company’s HR department. The labor code, Omnibus implementing rules, and the labor advisories do not specify whether the request should be in writing.

Therefore, a verbal request should suffice. However, if the company’s policies strictly state that requests for COEs be made in writing, then it would be prudent to follow suit.

Can an employee dictate what goes in a Certificate of Employment?

No. An employee can only go as far as to request what they want to be included in the COE, but ultimately, the employer decides what the COE contains, aside from the employee’s start and end date of their work contract and the nature of their work responsibility or position at work.

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