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The work certificate:what is it? What's the point ?

The work certificate is a document. It is given by the employer to the employee when his employment contract ends. The work certificate proves that the employee has indeed been employed by the company. It also indicates the duration of the contract and the function performed. The content of this certificate is specified by the Labor Code. An employer who does not issue a work certificate is sanctioned. What is the purpose of this document? Here's everything you need to know about the labor certificate.

Definition:what is a work certificate?

According to the government website, "the work certificate is a document given by the employer to the employee on the date of the end of the employment contract". Submission of this document is mandatory:

  • for any type of employment contract:fixed-term contract (CDD), permanent contract (CDI), part-time contract, work-study contract or even temporary employment contract...
  • for any reason for the termination:dismissal for misconduct, for economic reasons, for personal reasons, conventional termination, resignation, end of CDD and even death.

It should be noted that the work certificate must be submitted by the employer.

Work certificate and end of contract

The work certificate is therefore issued at the end of a contract. It is then accompanied by the balance of any account, the Pôle emploi certificate and, if applicable, a summary statement of employee savings.

The date of delivery of the work certificate is set by article L. 1234-19 of the Labor Code. This is the day on which the employment contract expires. This rule applies whether the notice has been given or not. You should know that if the employee is not required to give notice, the employer can issue a certificate before the end of the contract. This specifies that the employee is no longer engaged. This approach is appreciated because it is a major asset in the job search.

All about the delivery of the work certificate

The work certificate must be given immediately and directly to the employee. The employer must make the document available. On the other hand, it is up to the employee to obtain it. In other words, he must come and get it. Of course, postage is possible if both parties agree. Sending by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt is highly recommended.

Attention ! The work certificate is "querable". It is therefore up to the employee to obtain it. On the other hand, if the delivery of the certificate is ordered by the Conseil de Prud'hommes, it becomes "portable". In this case, the employer must give the document to the employee.

What happens if the certificate is not delivered?

If the obligation to submit the work certificate is not respected, the employer may be sanctioned. The employee can have recourse to the labor inspectorate to assert his rights, initially. He can also apply to the Labor Court.

  • Penalally:the employer risks a fine equivalent to class 4 fines. It is €750 maximum for a natural person and €3,750 maximum for a legal entity.
  • In civil matters, the employee is entitled to claim his work certificate before the Labor Court. In the event of damage, the employee may claim damages.

What does an employment certificate contain?

Mandatory information

The employer is free to draw up the work certificate on plain paper or letterhead. In both cases, mandatory information exists. They are specified in article D 1234-6 of the Labor Code. Here is the information that must be present.

  • Identity of the employer, namely name, address, company name and registered office
  • Identity of the employee, namely surname, first name and address
  • Employee entry and exit dates
  • Nature of the job(s) held
  • Periods during which the employee held these jobs
  • Free maintenance of health coverage throughout the period of unemployment, if the employee benefited from it
  • Free maintenance of pension cover (in the event of death, incapacity for work or disability) throughout the period of unemployment, if the employee benefited from it
  • Date of delivery of the certificate and place of its writing
  • Signature of employer

Optional mentions

Optional information can also be indicated on the work certificate. In this case, their addition is done with the agreement of the employee. These mentions can take the form of an appreciation of the employee's work. This assessment cannot in any case be negative or harm the employee. For example, an employer cannot mention a period of illness. On the other hand, it is possible to include on the work certificate the number of days compensated for unemployment-bad weather or closures linked to the coronavirus epidemic.

What is a work certificate for?

The non-submission of a work certificate is punishable by law. But what is this important document for? Remember that a work certificate attests to the activity of an employee in a company. It is essential for:

  • prove professional experience,
  • find a job,
  • justify that an employee is no longer engaged,
  • enforce your rights with Pôle emploi,
  • the calculation of retirement pensions.

What is the difference between a work certificate and a work certificate?

The work certificate is a document drawn up by the employer at the request of the employee. It makes it possible to justify a commitment to a company. It is possible to request a work certificate to benefit from a loan or to enroll your children in a nursery or school. The work certificate is compulsory. It is given only at the end of the contract. Unlike the work certificate, the work certificate has legal value.