Requesting an employment certificate at the end of the working relationship

Last updated more than 5 years ago

Upon expiry of the employment contract, and at the employee's express request, the employer is required to issue an employment certificate indicating the start and end dates of employment and the type of work performed, or, where applicable, the positions successively occupied within the company, as well as the periods of time when the employee held each position.

Who is concerned

All employees, whether dismissed, resigning or at the end of their fixed-term employment contract, may ask their employer to draw up an employment certificate, whatever the type of employment contract.

Deadlines

In the case of a fixed-term contract ( contrat à durée déterminée – CDD), the employment certificate must be issued to an employee who requests it at least 8 days prior to the end of the contract.

How to proceed

Mandatory information to include in an employment certificate

The employer does not take the initiative to prepare an employment certificate at the end of the working relationship. It is the employee's responsibility to make an express request to the employer.

The employment certificate is intended to be a straightforward document proving the existence and duration of a working relationship. It is therefore limited to setting forth objective information, such as:

  • the employee's effective date of entry into service (including the trial period);
  • the date on which employment ended;
  • the nature of the position or positions successively held by the employee;
  • the periods during which these positions were occupied.

No biased or unfavourable statements about the employee may be included in the certificate. However, the employer is free to insert information emphasising the quality of the employee's work throughout the duration of the contract.

Preparation of a new certificate

If employees feel the certificate is either directly or indirectly negative, they may ask their employer to prepare a new certificate limited to basic, objective information.

Where such a request is made, the employer is required to correct the certificate.

Recourse in the event that the employer refuses

If the employer refuses to prepare an employment certificate or delays its delivery without an objective reason, the employee may send a formal demand to the employer by registered letter, impelling the employer to issue an employment certificate without delay.

If the formal demand is unsuccessful, the employee then has the right to bring legal action to enjoin the employer to issue a properly prepared employment certificate. A special proceeding (by the interim judge) is intended to help the employee rapidly obtain an order enjoining the employer to issue the document, sometimes even subject to penalties of EUR x per day of delay.

Employment certificates and dismissal

While the certificate must not contain any unfavourable remarks about the employee, either directly or indirectly, the employer is permitted to prepare a certificate that emphasises the employee's positive qualities.

In accordance with the case law, an employer who prepares a laudatory certificate forfeits the right to argue, before the labour tribunal, that the employee's work was unsatisfactory. Therefore, a dismissal may be deemed unfair if the employee was dismissed for unsatisfactory work but the employment certificate praises the work done by the employee.

Cross-border workers

Cross-border workers whose employment contract has been terminated or has expired will need an employment certificate prepared by their last employer in Luxembourg in order to qualify for unemployment benefit in their country of residence.

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