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Certificate of Employment (COE) guide for employers in Singapore

In today’s competitive job market, the importance of proper documentation and employee relations cannot be overstated. Among the key documents that play a crucial role in both employee transitions and company credibility is the Certificate of Employment (COE). This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the Certificate of Employment, from its definition and purpose to eligibility and template creation. Dive in to learn how a simple yet significant document can make a big difference in the world of employment.

What is a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

A Certificate of Employment (COE) is an official document provided by an employer that verifies an individual’s employment history. It typically includes details such as the employee’s job title, period of employment, job title, and sometimes the reason for leaving. This document serves as a formal record of an individual’s work experience with a particular organisation.

Who qualifies for a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

In general, any individual who has been employed by an organisation qualifies for a Certificate of Employment. This includes:

  • Full-time employees: those who work on a regular, full-time basis with a company.
  • Part-time employees: those who work fewer hours than full-time employees but still have a formal employment relationship.
  • Contract employees: those hired for a specific period or project.
  • Freelancers: depending on the terms of engagement and the company’s policies, freelancers might also be eligible.
  • Probationary employees: even those who are still under probation may request a COE if their employment is terminated or if they need to prove their employment status for other reasons.

What are the purposes of a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

A Certificate of Employment serves multiple purposes, making it a valuable document for both employees and employers. Here are the key purposes:

  • Job Applications

When applying for new positions, candidates often need to provide proof of their previous employment. A COE validates their work history and helps prospective employers verify the information provided in their resumes.

  • Further Education

Individuals pursuing further education or professional qualifications might need to provide a COE as part of their application process. Educational institutions and training providers often require proof of work experience to ensure candidates meet their entry criteria.

  • Visa and Immigration Applications

For visa and immigration purposes, a COE can be crucial. Immigration authorities may request proof of employment to verify an applicant’s work history and assess their eligibility for certain visa categories.

  • Loan and Credit Applications

Financial institutions may require a COE when individuals apply for loans, credit cards, or mortgages. It helps verify their employment status and income stability, which are critical factors in assessing creditworthiness.

  • Internal Record Keeping

For employers, maintaining accurate employment records is essential. Issuing a COE ensures that there is a formal document that can be referenced for future verification needs.

  • Legal and Compliance Purposes

In some cases, a COE may be required for legal reasons, such as disputes over employment terms or benefits. It serves as a formal record that can be used to resolve such issues.

What should I include in the Certificate of Employment (COE)?

A well-crafted Certificate of Employment should be comprehensive and accurate. Here are the key elements that should be included:

Employee Information

  • Full name: the employee’s full legal name.
  • Identification number: NRIC number or any other relevant identification number.
  • Job title: the official job title held by the employee during their employment.
  • Employment period: the start and end dates of employment.

Company Information

  • Company name: the full legal name of the company.
  • Company address: the registered address of the company.
  • Contact information: A contact number or email address for verification purposes.

Employment Details

  • Job responsibilities: a brief description of the employee’s main duties and responsibilities.
  • Employment status: indicate whether the employee was full-time, part-time, contract, or freelance.
  • Reason for leaving: this is optional and can be included if it is relevant and agreed upon by both parties.


  • Signature: the signature of an authorised representative of the company.
  • Date of issue: the date when the COE is issued.
  • Company seal: if applicable, include the company’s official seal or stamp.

Certificate of Employment (COE) template

Here is a sample template for a Certificate of Employment:

[Company Letterhead]

Certificate of Employment

Date: [Date of Issue]

To Whom It May Concern,

This is to certify that [Employee’s Full Name], holding NRIC number [NRIC Number], was employed with [Company Name] as a [Job Title] from [Start Date] to [End Date].

During their tenure with us, [Employee’s Name] was responsible for the following duties:

[Brief description of duties and responsibilities]

[Employee’s Name] was employed on a [full-time/part-time/contract/freelance] basis.

Should you require any further information or verification, please feel free to contact us at [Contact Information].


[Authorised Representative’s Name]

[Authorised Representative’s Title]

[Company Name]

Company Seal: [If applicable]

Are employers required to provide a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

In Singapore, there is no legal obligation for employers to provide a COE. However, it is generally considered a good practice and is often expected in professional settings. Providing a COE can help maintain positive relationships with former employees and uphold the company’s reputation as a fair and supportive employer.

Benefits of providing a COE for your employees

  • Enhances employer reputation: demonstrates professionalism and support for employees, even after they have left the company.
  • Facilitates smooth transitions: assists former employees in their career transitions, which can reflect positively on the employer.
  • Reduces potential disputes: providing clear documentation of employment can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes.

Can employees request a Certificate of Employment (COE)?

Yes, employees can request a Certificate of Employment. While employers are not legally obligated to provide one, many do so as a matter of good practice. Employees typically request a COE when they are leaving a company, but they can also request one at any point during their employment if they need it for specific purposes, such as applying for a loan or visa.

Certificate of Employment (COE) request template

Employees should make their request in writing, clearly stating the reason for the request and any specific information they need to be included. Here’s a sample request letter:

[Employee’s Name]

[Employee’s Address]

[City, Postal Code]


[Employer’s Name]

[Employer’s Position]

[Company Name]

[Company Address]

[City, Postal Code]

Dear [Employer’s Name],

I am writing to request a Certificate of Employment from [Company Name] to document my period of employment from [Start Date] to [End Date] as a [Job Title]. This document is required for [state the purpose, e.g., a new job application, visa application, loan application].

I would appreciate it if the certificate could include details of my job responsibilities and the nature of my employment (full-time/part-time/contract).

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.


[Employee’s Name]

In conclusion, a Certificate of Employment is a vital document that serves multiple purposes for employees and employers alike. While not legally required in Singapore, providing a COE is a professional courtesy that can significantly benefit former employees and reflect positively on the employer. By understanding the importance and proper issuance of a COE, employers can foster better relationships with their workforce and maintain a reputable standing in the professional community.

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