Does the employer have to issue a work certificate at the end of the employment contract?

From a legal point of view, the work certificate is only issued if the employee expressly requests it from his employer.

The employer may decide to give the employee a certificate on his own initiative.

Does an employment certificate have to be issued for an employee with a fixed-term employment contract?

Yes, an employee employed under a fixed-term contract is entitled to receive a work certificate in the same way as an employee with a permanent contract.

If requested, the certificate must be given to the employee at least eight days before the expiry date of his contract.

What if the employer refuses to issue a work certificate despite the employee's request?

If the employer refuses to issue a work certificate or delays its delivery without objective reason, the employee may send a formal notice to the employer by registered letter.

If this formal notice has no effect, the employee can take legal action to force the employer to hand over the work certificate. A special procedure in summary proceedings allows the employee to quickly obtain a judgment ordering the employer to provide the certificate, sometimes even under penalty of a fine per day of delay.

What should an employment certificate contain?

Intended to serve as proof of the existence and duration of an employment relationship, the certificate must be limited to stating a few objective items of information: the date of entry and exit, the nature of the job or successive jobs held by the employee and the periods during which these jobs were held.

Although no unfavourable statement may appear on the certificate, nothing prevents the employer from drawing up a certificate highlighting the employee’s qualities and skills.

What to do if the certificate contains unfavourable statements?

If the employee considers that the certificate contains, directly or indirectly, negative information, he/she may ask the employer to draw up a new certificate limited to the objective information described above.

If such a request is made, the employer is obliged to rectify the situation and the employee is entitled to a neutral certificate.