Certificate of Employment (COE) in the Philippines

PUBLISHED ON: June 9, 2019
LAST UPDATED ON: January 19, 2022

The Certificate of Employment (COE) is a document that certifies the date of employment, date of termination of employment, and types of work performed and issued to all workers who has been employed by the company.

The Certificate of Employment (COE) is often requested as a supporting document in applying for services or utilities as proof that you are currently employed and able to pay the dues of such service.

Table of Contents

What is a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

Defining Certificate of Employment (COE)

The Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code of the Philippines states the following regarding the Certification of Employment (COE):

Certification of employment. — A dismissed worker shall be entitled to receive, on request, a certificate from the employer specifying the dates of his engagement and termination of his employment and the type or types of work on which he is employed.

Section 10, Rule XIV, Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has issued Labor Advisory No. 6, series of 2020 as guidelines for the implementation and issuance of the Certificate of Employment (COE) which is defined as the following:

"Certificate of Employment" refers to a certificate from the employer specifying the dates of an employee's engagement and the termination of his/her employment and the type or types of work in which he/she is employed. For purposes of this advisory, an employee whose employment is not yet terminated may also ask for a Certificate of Employment.

Labor Advisory No. 6, series of 2020

The Certificate of Employment (COE) does not appear in Presidential Decree No. 442 also known as the Labor Code of the Philippines. However it does appear in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code of the Philippines.

Purpose of a Certificate of Employment

What is the purpose of requesting a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

Companies in the Philippines would often require that a copy of the Certificate of Employment (COE) from your previous company as part of the Pre-Employment Requirements. The Certificate of Employment (COE) is an important document that employers often seek to verify the employment history of their applicant and ensure that the applicant they plan to hire had the right exposure and experience for the position applied.

What is the issuance purpose indicated at the last part of the Certificate of Employment (COE)?

The Certificate of Employment (COE) may be requested by an employee for whatever legal purpose it would serve, for example loans or for other employment opportunities.

The wordings of "This Certificate of Employment (COE) is issued" is simply legal verbiage that is added to the Certificate of Employment (COE) and not a necessary component of the Certificate of Employment (COE).

However, HR Officers may insist that a specific purpose should be indicated instead of the general one as aforementioned. This aspect is more on management prerogative. It is possible that they are avoiding legal complications by issuing a COE to have a specific purpose, although a COE only proves you are an employee of the company and your duties.

What are examples of issuance purpose to be indicated in the Certificate of Employment (COE)?

The issuance purpose to be indicated may be related to the intention of the employee or requestor. The following are examples of issuance purposes that may be indicated in the Certificate of Employment (COE) and may be altered to other analogous wordings that the HR Officer would prefer:

  • This Certificate of Employment (COE) is issued for whatever legal purpose it may serve
  • This Certificate of Employment (COE) is issued for records purposes of the employee
  • This Certificate of Employment (COE) is issued as per request of the abovementioned employee.
  • This Certificate of Employment (COE) is issued as part of the requirements for the Auto Loan of the abovementioned employee.

Content of a Certificate of Employment (COE)

What is the content of a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

The Certificate of Employment (COE) is required to contain the following details: Date of employment; Date of termination of employment; and types of work performed.

Can the Human Resource (HR) Officer indicate additional details to the Certificate of Employment (COE)?

Yes, there can be additional details included in the Certificate of Employment (COE). The usual details include compensation earned by the employee, whether monthly or annually.

Entitlement to the Certificate of Employment (COE)

Who is entitled to be issued a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

Every worker is entitled to a Certificate of Employment (COE).

Does your employer have a right to withhold or refuse to issue a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

Before we answer that, we need to take a look at the reasons why employers withhold the Certificate of Employment (COE) of an employee. The following are the usual reasons:

  1. Contractual/Project-based personnel or no employee-employer relationship.
  2. Employment has been terminated by either just or authorized cause; or/and
  3. Employee has not yet been cleared from liabilities from the company;

Should a Contractual, Project-based personnel, or no employee-employer relationship receive his Certificate of Employment (COE)?

First, let's look at what the law says about the Certificate of Employment (COE) aside from the Labor Advisory issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). According to the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code:

The provision above already is contained in the Labor Advisory of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) with some minor revisions or clarification.

On the aspect of "Worker", employers may find themselves first defining the word "Worker" as someone who is only considered as an employee of the company such as Regular Employees. However, the Labor Code defines "Worker" as the following:.

"Worker" means any member of the labor force, whether employed or unemployed.

Article 13 (a), Chapter I, Title I, Book 1

The definition above broadens the coverage and would cover all working-age persons. This therefore does NOT differentiate between a person with or without an employee-employer relationship. The provision of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code already clears out the mode of separation and employment type.

Should an employee whose employment has been terminated by either Just or Authorized cause receive his Certificate of Employment (COE)?

Employers may be reluctant to issue a Certificate of Employment (COE) to a former employee who had their employment terminated through either Just or Authorized Cause. We have to clarify the definition of "dismissed".

Dismissed is defined, in layman's term, as the following:

1. To permit or cause to leave
2. To remove from position or service
3.a. To reject serious consideration.
3.b. To put out of judicial consideration

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11 edition) - emphasis supplied for relevant definitions

The first two (2) definitions are in line with termination by the employee and employer respectively of Article 285 and 282 of Title I, Book 6 of the Labor Code, with the former by the employee submitting a notice of resignation and latter by the employer terminating (just or authorized) the employment relationship with the employee; the definition does not specify or exclude any type of termination.

In addition, the Labor Code does not differentiate any mode of separation as it only mentions "dismissed". Therefore, the issuance of Certificate of Employee (COE) covers all types of termination.

Should an employee who has not yet been cleared from liabilities from the company receive his Certificate of Employment (COE)?

The Certificate of Employment (COE) is not a form of clearance that certifies that the employee has been cleared by the company. The Certificate of Employment (COE), by definition of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code and the Labor Advisory, only certifies the work that the employee has done for the company which includes the type of work performed and duration of the work.

So in conclusion, the employer should NOT withhold your The Certificate of Employment (COE). For employers or Human Resource Officers that are still hesitant to issue a The Certificate of Employment (COE) as it may be construed to be a clearance, then it may be prudent to include in the The Certificate of Employment (COE) a provision which states that the document does not clear the employee for any liabilities.

Can an employee who is still employed request for a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

The Labor Advisory issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) explicitly states that the Certificate of Employment (COE) may also be requested by an employee who is still employed.

Can the employer issue the Certificate of Employment (COE) beyond three (3) days?

No, the labor advisory is strict on this. The employer may be face penalties if raised to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

As stated in the Labor Advisory, the issuance of Certificate of Employment (COE), the employer shall issue a certificate of employment within three (3) days from the time of the request by the employee.

What positions should I include in the Certificate of Employment (COE) if the employee had multiple positions due to promotion or transfer?

You may tailor the Certificate of Employment (COE) to the needs of the employee. You may include the latest position if it is for a utility (e.g. Phone, Credit Card) or all positions so you could just have one single document you print out.

It would be better if it includes all positions if the person has separated his employment with the company.

Template of Certificate of Employment (COE)

Sample format of the Certificate of Employment (COE):

A sample of a Certificate of Employment (COE) may be downloaded from Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) through a google search (or try this direct link). The form is only available through the external site directory and I could not find a page that links to it.

Sample Certificate of Employment (COE) for a terminated employee?

Whether an employee is terminated for just or authorized cause, he or she is still entitled to receive a Certificate of Employment (COE). There is should be no difference between an employee who has resigned or terminated via either just or authorized cause.

Miscellaneous

How to request for a Certificate of Employment (COE) from your employer?

An employee should proceed to their respective Human Resource (HR) Officer and request from them a copy of the Certificate of Employment (COE).

What is the meaning of "COE" in employment and in job applications?

COE is the commonly used acronym for Certificate of Employment.


If you have found my articles helpful, share them to your friends and follow me on my socials
to be updated with my latest posts and insights!

error: Content is protected !!