We sometimes receive questions from employers about which certificates they are obliged to provide to existing as well as former employees. There is often conceptual confusion around the actual content of a certificate, which is why it’s important to know which certificate is which in order to minimise the duplication of work and fulfil the employer’s obligations.
There are several reasons why existing and former employees may require a certificate. Some of them are statutory, and sometimes you the employer will also have a certain timeframe to keep to.
An employer certificate shows information including how much the employee has actually worked and what they have earnt. For unemployment insurance funds, this certificate is the basis for the employee’s remuneration in the event they become unemployed. The Swedish Unemployment Insurance Act states that the employer must issue the certificate on request. Although there’s no set timeframe for how long an employer has to produce the certificate, it should be produced quickly so that the person can claim from their unemployment insurance fund.
Certificate of employment
A certificate of employment is usually more comprehensive than an employer certificate as it extends over the employee’s entire period of employment and not just a specific period like an employer certificate. It can include information on date of employment, role (current and possibly historical), and the tasks linked to the role. The timeframe for producing the certificate of employment is usually stated in the collective agreement or in the company’s policy.
In addition to the content of the certificate of employment, the employment reference covers the requirements of the role and how the employee has performed their duties during the period of their employment. The employee has no statutory right to request an employment reference. However, it is good practice in the labour market for employers to provide a reference with a personal assessment.
Beyond any legal requirement, a collective agreement may regulate the employee’s right to an employment reference. It can sometimes state that the employee is entitled to this after six months of employment and state how long the employer has to issue it. Many companies choose to include the issuance of the certificate in their offboarding process.
Evidence of employment/employment contract
A contract of employment in itself evidences or certifies that an employment relationship exists between a company and a person. Its content direct and indirectly regulates what is applicable to the employment relationship in question. Based on the Swedish Employment Protection Act, an employer must, within one month after the employee has started work, provide written information to the employee on all the conditions that are of material importance to the employment contract or employment relationship.
Things to bear in mind:
When it comes to employee information such as historical salary, absence, etc., it’s vital that this information is saved in the event of a change of payroll supplier. This is also the case if you choose to switch from internal payroll management to outsourcing it to a partner. You also need to have a good thinning process for historical data from a GDPR perspective. This process needs to be tailored to the requirements for certificates.
How can Azets help?
At Azets, we have extensive experience in the regulations contained in collective agreements and laws. If you as an employer have questions or concerns about how to produce a certain kind of certificate or on the process relating to certificates, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.