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What is a Certificate of Employment and How to Get One?

Last updated: November 15, 2022

Written by: Alyssa Divina | Reviewed by: Rafael Hular

Key takeaways:

  • A COE is one of the most important documents that an employee can have.
  • It gives details about employment.
  • It can be used as supplemental documentation for banking purposes, visa applications and travel passes.
  • It is the right of every Filipino employee to receive one.
  • You don’t need a COE to apply for a Digido loan.

A certificate of employment is one of the most important documents that you can have in the Philippines. It gives details about the type of work that you’re doing and for how long you have been doing it. It is a required document by banks and foreign embassies, demonstrating that you have a job and can support yourself.

What is a COE?

A certificate of employment (COE) is a document that outlines an employee’s experience with a specific employer.

Meaning, it contains the type of work an employee did and the date in which the employee joined and resigned from the company. Some COEs may also contain the amount of compensation an employee got.

Regular mployees who have resigned or were terminated can be granted a COE. Present employees can also request and be given a COE, provided that the reason is applicable.

All employees in the Philippines have the right to receive a COE, according to Rule XIV, Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code. However, they don’t have the right to dictate the specific contents of a COE.

A COE is also not synonymous with an employment clearance. The former is about the nature and duration of your employment, while the latter clears you of all your responsibilities from your previous employer.

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What is the purpose of a COE?

Employees may request a COE from their employers for different reasons. The most common reasons are:

✓ Applying for a new job

When applying for a new job, one of the primary documents that an employee must submit is a COE. Potential employers will refer to an applicant’s COE to assess their employment history and experience as part of the screening process. Hiring managers may use a COE to contact a previous employer and verify everything that is stated in the document.

✓ Loan or credit card purposes

Banks and financing companies will request a COE from clients to verify their employment and to check their capability of paying off their financial obligations. In particular, COEs are important when it comes to loan and credit card applications.

In some cases, these institutions may ask for a COE with a salary or compensation amount up to the present date. They will use this information to verify an applicant’s cash flow and set specific loan or credit card terms.

✓ International travel and visa purposes

In applying for a visa to visit a foreign country, having a COE ready and printed out will increase your chances of getting approved. Why? Foreign countries would like to be assured that you have a stable job in the Philippines and have the financial means to cover travel costs.

In addition, agents of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) will sometimes ask travelers going out of the Philippines to present a COE with signatures from your boss and HR, along with your work ID. This is to make sure that the traveler has a stable job here and is not at risk of human trafficking or financial trouble abroad.

It is not uncommon for BI agents to refuse a traveler from boarding a plane due to not having a COE or because they were unable to prove that they have a job here.

✓ Travel pass

Back in time when strict lockdowns were implemented due to COVID-19, some local government units required people to present a COE especially if they were working in a different city or province away from their residence. This was just to verify that they were indeed traveling for work.

Of course, this might not hold true nowadays with reduced movement restrictions in place, but it still pays to be prepared.

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How to get a certificate of employment?

It’s very easy to get a certificate of employment. Simply notify your boss or HR department that you need a COE, then state the reason for your request.

You can also draft a request letter for a COE if your workplace requires it. In your letter, state your name, your request for an employment certificate, and the reason why you need one. Aside from your boss, you can also ask for a signature for someone from your HR department.

Content of a COE

What information should be included in a COE?

According to the guidelines set by the Department of Labor and Employment, a certificate of employment should contain the following:

  • Duration of an employee’s engagement
  • Date of employment termination
  • Type of work done by the employee

As an employee, you have the right to request a COE for whatever purpose it may serve. However, you have no control over the content of your COE.

Employers must release a COE within three days from the date of request. That means it cannot be released at the same time as the final pay. The DOLE mandates employers to release the final pay within 30 days from the date of employee separation or termination.

If you are having problems with your employer regarding your COE, you can file an issue or dispute at the nearest DOLE regional/provincial/field office which has jurisdiction over your workplace.

FAQ

  • Is COE mandatory in the Philippines?
    The employer must issue a COE to his/her employee. But the employer has the right to refuse to issue an COE if the person was not currently or formerly an employee.
  • Who is entitled for Coe?
    Anybody who was and is an employee of the company CAN request for a COE.
  • When should a Certificate of Employment be issued?
    A COE is issued after the termination of employment or upon request by an employee.

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Sample of a certificate of employment

Here is a sample certificate of employment courtesy of Digido. If you are an employer, you are free to copy this template anytime an employee asks for a COE.

(Date)

CERTIFICATE OF EMPLOYMENT

To whom it may concern:

This is to certify that (name of employee) has been employed with (name of employer/company) as (employee position) for (duration of employment) from ____ to ____.

This certificate is being issued at his/her request for whatever purpose it may serve.

(Employer’s signature)
(Employer’s name)

Is COE a valid ID?

While a certificate of employment is not considered a valid ID, banks and financing companies can ask you to provide a copy of this document (along with your work ID) as proof of employment. They will use this document to verify that you have a job and income. This document is a primary requirement, especially if you are applying for a loan or credit card.

However, some online lenders do not require you to submit a COE, only a valid ID. And you’ll be lucky to know that Digido is one of them!

You don’t need a COE to apply for a Digido personal loan. All you need is a valid government-issued ID. We accept the following:

  • Driver’s license
  • Philippine passport
  • UMID
  • SSS ID
  • TIN ID
  • New Philhealth card (PVC-type)

If you’re in need of quick cash and you already have one of the IDs listed above, apply for a Digido loan now! You will get a minimum of Php 1,000 and a maximum of Php 25,000 if you are a repeat borrower — all in just 5 minutes!

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Frequently asked questions about the COE

How can I request for a COE?

You can request for a COE simply by informing your employer. You can submit a request letter for a COE for a more formal process. Include the reason for your request as well as the timeline for your COE.

Who can be issued a COE?

Present and past regular employees can be issued a COE.

When should my employer release my COE?

Your employer should release your COE within three days from the date of request.

Is the COE the same as clearance?

No, the COE and employee clearance are not the same.

Is the COE the same as an employee contract?

No, the COE is not the same as an employee contract.

Can my employer refuse to grant my COE?

Your employer can refuse you a COE if:

  • You are a contractual/project-based employee or there is no employer-employee relationship.
  • You were terminated by either a just or authorized cause.
  • You have not been cleared from liabilities from the company.
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Written by: Alyssa Divina

Author pages:
Alyssa Divina pens blog articles about a wide range of topics, such as money matters and government transactions in the Philippines. Prior to joining Digido Finance Corp., she served as a journalist for Charlton Media Group, a business news magazine, for two years. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Reviewed by: Rafael Hular

Author pages:
Rafael “Raffy” L. Hular is, the Finance and Accounting Manager. of Digido Finance Corp., monitoring and controlling the flow of cash that comes in and out of the company to meet the company’s business needs, preparing the financial reports and analysis of income and expenses, and monitoring tax compliance.  Raffy loves reading Japanese comics called manga and watching Japanese animated cartoon series. He dreams of establishing his own Accounting and Auditing Firm and teaching in a University.