Drafting a certificate of employment is a common human resources task. However, it’s generally not a good idea to deliver information about current or past employees over the telephone. For one thing, you have no way to verify the caller’s identity. For another, giving out information over the telephone violates the privacy controls that most businesses have in place. A better option is to require written authorization from the employee and then provide employment information in writing.
Why a Certificate of Employment?
Companies and individuals who make decisions based in part on current or past employment and salary need a way to verify the information provided by an employee. The most common are banks and other lending institutions, homeowners, staffing agencies and other potential employers. Lenders and homeowners usually only need to verify employment status and wages or salary. Hiring companies may request information pertaining to attendance, job roles and duties. Your verification policy will determine how much information your company is willing to provide.
Standard Versus Formal Verification
The information you include in a certificate of employment often depends on whether you’re creating a standard or formal certificate. Either version should be on official company letterhead and include the date, title and signature of the person issuing the verification. A standard certificate, such as one a homeowner might request, typically includes an employee's name, employment status, current job title and base annual salary. A formal certificate issued to a lender might also include the employee's Social Security number and an official company seal or stamp from a notary public.
Format and Style
A certificate of employment has no standard layout. Using a standard 8.5-by-11-inch sheet of paper, set the page orientation to landscape and margins to 0.5 inches to make the verification appear more like a traditional certificate. Set the orientation to portrait and use standard 1 inch margins for a business letter appearance. Center the letterhead, which should include the business name and contact information, and then begin entering verification information. You can format the certificate as a table and enter each piece of information on a separate, double-spaced line. On the left side, enter labels such as “Employee,” "Current Position” and “Annual Income.” Add the appropriate information on the right side.
Delivery options are often different for standard and formal certificates. For a standard certificate of employment, most businesses will mail, fax or email the information to a recipient. When a formal certificate includes a Social Security number, most businesses send the information through the U.S. mail. You can also permit employees to pick up and deliver their own certificate. Whether you notify an employee that you've delivered a certificate depends on the size of your business and how many requests you get for this service.
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.