What Is A Certificate Of Employment?

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When you have applied for a job, been to an interview and finally received the positive news you were waiting for, it is time to formalize the employment. This takes place through an employment certificate (sometimes called an employment contract) between you and your employer that regulates the terms of employment. Read more in our article What is an employment certificate? to find out more about what an employment certificate should contain and what significance it has for you and your employer.

What is a certificate of employment?

An employment agreement can be both oral and written, but for your own sake it is best that you have a written employment certificate. This makes it much easier for you to present your terms of employment in the event of a conflict or a discussion about your duties and your salary level. A written employment certificate is clearer and easier to interpret than an oral one. If you want, you can also have a third party review it before you sign, which is difficult with a verbal agreement.

According to the Employment Protection Act (LAS), you must be informed of the terms of your employment no later than one month after the start of your employment. The most common, and easiest, way is for this to be done through an employment certificate. It is best that the parties sign it before the start of the employment, to avoid possible misunderstandings later on. After the employment certificate is signed, you are bound by the terms and conditions, so think carefully if you have any questions or doubts.

If you are employed by a government authority, you will not need to sign any employment certificate as it will then be replaced by an employment decision. However, it has the same legal function as a certificate of employment.

The collective agreement affects the employment certificate

If your prospective employer has signed a collective agreement, this will affect the scope of your employment certificate (you can read more about collective agreements later in the article). The terms of the collective agreement are considered to be an essential part of the employment certificate, which means that your personal employment certificate does not need to be as extensive. However, the employer must inform you whether the company is connected to a collective agreement and which conditions are governed by it. To be on the safe side, you can also find out yourself whether your future workplace is covered by a collective agreement, which you can do with the trade union representative at your future workplace or the trade union active in your industry.

If your future employer has not signed a collective agreement, it is important that the points that are usually regulated in a collective agreement are regulated in your personal agreement. An agreement with an employer that has not signed a collective agreement may therefore be more comprehensive.

Do you feel unsure about what applies? Contact your trade union or the personnel department at your new workplace.

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What should an employment certificate contain?

Now that we have answered the question what is a certificate of employment, we will take a closer look at what a certificate of employment is. An employment certificate regulates the relationship between you as an employee and your employer. It must contain at least the following:

  • Contact details
    Your contact details and social security number as well as the employer’s contact details and organization number.
  • Effective date
    The day you start your employment.
  • Place of work
    The place where the work is to be carried out. Rules for possible work from home are also agreed here – this can be especially important now that many people have worked from home during the covid 19 pandemic. Even if the work can be carried out regardless of location, it must be stated.
  • Duties
    Here is a brief description of your duties. If the tasks are defined or if you have a clear role, a job title or job title, such as project manager or Key Account Manager, may suffice. If the tasks are more varied or not easy to categorize, it may be better with a short job description.
  • Form of employment
    The form of employment is stated here, which can be permanent employment, limited-term employment (such as a temporary parental leave) or probationary employment. If it is a permanent employment, the termination conditions must be regulated, if it is a fixed-term employment, the end date of the employment must be stated and if it is a trial employment, the time for the trial period must be stated. Note that conditions for forms of employment can also be regulated by any collective agreement.
  • Working hours
    Times for when and for how long the work must or may be carried out. Times for lunch and other breaks can also be regulated here.
  • Salary and other benefits, as well as conditions for salary payment
    The starting salary and other benefits, such as health care allowance, allowances and company car, as well as salary periods and salary payments, are regulated here.
  • Overtime compensation
    This regulates how any overtime work is to be compensated. Overtime compensation can be paid as extra salary or as extra leave.
  • Holidays
    Conditions for holidays, holiday compensation and any advance holiday. The Holiday Act entitles everyone to five weeks’ holiday, regardless of age or type of employment.
  • Occupational pension
    Any occupational pension is agreed here, if the employer has signed a collective agreement, the employer is obliged to pay occupational pension. Employers who do not have a collective agreement can choose to pay occupational pension or not. If they choose not to pay occupational pension, you can do it yourself – an argument for a salary increase at the next salary negotiation!
  • Insurances and sick pay
    This is where you agree on which insurances the employer has taken out for you and the conditions for sick pay. According to law, the employer pays sick pay on days 1–14, after day 15 it is paid. After day 8, however, you must submit a medical certificate showing that you are unable to work. An employment certificate can give you more favorable conditions when taking sick leave, but never worse than those stipulated by law.
  • Notice period
    Your notice period depends on your form of employment. If you are permanently employed at a workplace governed by a collective agreement, you have 1–3 months’ notice period depending on the agreement, if you do not have a collective agreement, the notice period according to the Employment Protection Act (LAS) is one month – provided that you and your employer have not agreed otherwise. A time-limited layoff is precisely time-limited and therefore has no notice period, but employers can choose to make the employment terminable, for example by setting conditions for the employment. An example could be that you are employed on a temporary basis with the conditions ” employed as a substitute teacher for [ name ] up to and including [ date ] ” . If the absent teacher decides to come back earlier, then the employer can terminate you before your actual end date. If the employer set conditions for the employment, you as an employee have the right to one month’s notice. If you are a probationary employee, both you and the employer have the right to terminate the employment at any time. If the probationary employment has passed the end date without being interrupted or terminated, it automatically turns into a permanent employment.
  • Collective agreement
    If your workplace is covered by a collective agreement, this must be stated on your employment certificate. You can read more about collective agreements later in the article.

What happens if I don’t have an employment certificate?

If you and your employer have not agreed on the terms, either through an oral agreement or a written employment certificate, the main rule in the Employment Security Act (LAS) applies, which states that you are permanently employed.

Your obligations as an employee

As an employee, you also have obligations towards your employer. These can be stated in your employment certificate but do not always have to. As an employee, you can have, for example:

  • Duty of confidentiality
    You must not give out, disclose or use information that could harm employers. This may apply, for example, to customers, manufacturing methods or company-specific knowledge.
  • Duty of loyalty
    You are obliged to be loyal to your employer, then you must not behave in such a way that could harm your employer. Keep in mind that harsh and critical words in your private social media can be perceived as disloyal.
  • Non-competition It
    is true that you have a duty of loyalty as an employee, but your employer can choose to extend this with a non-competition. A non-competition ban may mean that you as an employee may not conduct competing side activities while the employment is ongoing or use the knowledge you gained during the employment in a new job or in your own company when the employment has ended. By law, the limitation may not be longer than necessary.

Your rights as an employee

Although you are governed by both the duty of confidentiality and the duty of loyalty, there may be times when you actually have a legally protected right to break these.

If you discover wrongdoing or other irregularities in your workplace, you have the right under the law – the so-called Whistleblower Act, which came into effect on January 1, 2017 – to report this without risk of reprisal. The law also means that every company or organization must have a system for employees to be able to report irregularities, either in their own organization or via a third party.

Employees in public activities or publicly funded private activities, for example care, school and care, are covered by the so-called whistleblower protection. This means a ban on investigating who has provided information to the mass media and a ban on reprisals from employers. The whistleblower protection act entered into force on 1 July 2017.

More about collective agreements

We have already mentioned collective agreements several times in the article, but what is it really? A collective agreement is an agreement between, on the one hand, an employee organization, colloquially ” the union ” , and on the other hand, an employer organization or an individual employer. The agreement regulates things such as wages, working hours, time off, holidays and other terms of employment. The collective agreement is legally binding for all parties.

It is worth noting that the collective agreement specifies a minimum level, so it is entirely possible for employers to offer their employees conditions that are better than those stated in the agreement.

Even if you are not a member of a trade union yourself, you are covered if the company you are employed at has concluded a collective agreement.

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