If you work in the human resources department, there is a chance that some of your company’s employees – both current and past – may reach out to you with requests for you to provide proof that they are indeed employed, or were employed by your company. If you receive such a request, what the employee expects from you is an employment verification letter.

If you have never written an employment verification letter before, it might seem like a difficult thing to do. What exactly do you say in this letter? What information should you include, and what should you leave out? Are you even under a strict obligation to write the employment verification letter?

The good thing is that employment verification letters are quite simple to write. If you have been asked to write an employment verification letter but do not know where to start or how to go about it, this article is for you.

Before we jump into how to write the employment verification letter, however, let’s start by understanding what exactly it is and why employees ask for it.

WHAT IS AN EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTER

Sometimes referred to as a proof of employment letter, proof of income, work verification letter, or a letter of employment, the employment verification letter is an official document that confirms a person’s employment status, their date of employment, their job title, and sometimes, their salary.

The letter is used by the requester to prove to a third party that they currently work or used to work for your company, or to show that they have a valid source of income.

There are several reasons why an employee might request for an employment verification letter. These include:

  • When interviewing for a new job, the employer might ask the candidate to provide an employment verification letter to prove that they indeed held the position they claim and that they were truthful about their salary.
  • When renting a new apartment, the landlord might request for an employment verification letter to confirm that this person has a regular source of income and that they can comfortably afford the rent. Landlords do this to avoid renting out their property to people who will have trouble meeting their rent payments.
  • When applying for a mortgage, the bank or financial institution might request for a proof of income to confirm that the person has an income that would allow them to repay back the mortgage on time. The same applies when someone is applying for other kinds of loans.
  • If someone has filed for worker’s compensation, the insurance company might request for an employment verification letter to confirm that the person is indeed an employee of the company they claim to work for.
  • When someone is applying for social services, such as a scholarship or a bursary for their children, they might be asked to provide an employment verification letter to prove that their income level makes them eligible for the bursary. The same applies to many other social services.
  • If you are applying for a visa to travel abroad, you might also be asked to provide a proof of employment letter. By showing that you are employed, this shows that you have an incentive to come back to your home country, and therefore increases your chances of being granted the visa.

The above are just some of the reasons why someone might request for an employment verification letter. There are several other situations that might need someone to prove their employment status.

Reasons behind an employment verification letter. Source: Talentlyft

While the employment verification letter is a simple document, it is good to note that there are some legalities surrounding this letter. This is because this document involves sharing of an employee’s personal details with a third party.

When writing the employment verification letter, you need to make sure that you are in compliance with data protection regulations and employment laws, otherwise you can easily find yourself battling legal suits.

The laws that apply when writing the employment verification letter will depend on the employee, the third party that needs to see the proof of employment, as well as the employee’s consent to have their data shared with third parties.

The laws will also vary from state to state.

IS AN EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTER THE SAME AS A BACKGROUND CHECK?

Since the employment verification letter seeks to provide proof about a person’s employment history, people sometimes confuse it with a background check. However, there is a difference between the two.

Whereas the employment verification letter only confirms a person’s employment status and their salary (if need be), a background check is a lot more thorough.

A background check verifies a person’s employment history, their current and previous addresses, their criminal history, and so on.

Even though you might have some of this information, do not provide any information that is not related to the employee’s employment status in an employment verification letter.

There are companies that specialize in background checks, and anyone who needs such information should go through these companies.

By divulging an employee’s background information that does not pertain to their employment status, you could be opening yourself up to lawsuits for violating the employee’s privacy.

IS AN EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTER THE SAME AS A REFERENCE LETTER?

Employment verification letters are also sometimes mistaken for letters of reference. However, the two are different documents with different purposes.

The reference letter provides a detailed look into an employee’s performance at work, as well as the writer’s opinion on whether the subject of the reference letter is a good employee.

An employment letter, on the other hand, is a more “matter of fact” document that simply confirms a person’s employment status, without going into detail about their work performance or the kind of employee they are.

HOW TO WRITE AN EMPLOYEE VERIFICATION LETTER

While writing an employment verification letter is quite an easy undertaking, below are some things you need to keep in mind when writing the letter:

  • Use a business letter format: Like I mentioned earlier, the employment verification letter is an official document, and therefore, you need to make sure that it is written in the standard business letter format, starting with your company’s contact information, the date, and then the contact information of the recipient, if available. The letter also needs to use targeted language and get straight to the point.
  • Keep it concise: A work verification letter should be fairly short. Remember, you are simply confirming whether the person works for your company. This can be done in just a few sentences.
  • Include all requested information: You don’t want a back and forth between you and whoever is requesting the employee’s proof of employment, and therefore, you should include all the information that has been requested, provided it is not in violation of employee privacy regulations. An employment verification letter will typically include the employee’s name, their job title, the date they were employed, and their salary (if requested). Avoid sharing any information that has not been specifically requested in the employment verification letter.
  • Always tell the truth: The outcome of whatever process the person is going through (a visa application, loan or mortgage application, job application, etc.) is dependent on the consistency of the information that you are going to provide, and therefore, it is important to tell the truth when writing an employment verification letter. Remember, this letter is an official document, and by lying, your company might be held liable for any consequences resulting from the provision of inaccurate information.
  • Ask for the employee’s consent: Depending on your state, you might be required to seek the employee’s consent before sharing their personal information with a third party. Even if this is not an absolute necessity in your state, it still advisable to have the employee’s consent. This can help you protect yourself in case any legal issues arise down the line.
  • Provide your contact information: Sometimes, the third party requesting for the proof of employment might have some additional questions, and therefore, it is advisable to provide your contact information at the end of the letter, such as your email address or your work phone number, and let the recipient know that you are available to answer any additional questions if need be.
  • Edit and proofread the letter: Like I mentioned, whatever process your current or former employee is going through is dependent on this letter, and therefore, it is good to edit and proofread the letter and make sure it looks as professional as possible. You don’t want whatever process they are going through to break down simply because your letter seemed illegitimate since it was full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

INFORMATION TO LEAVE OUT WHEN WRITING THE EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTER

I mentioned that there are some data privacy and employment laws and regulations surrounding the sharing of employee information, and therefore, it is important to know what you are allowed to include in the letter, and most importantly, what you should leave out.

Below, let’s take a look at some of the information you should leave out when writing the employment verification letter:

  • Your opinion: The work verification letter is not a reference letter, and therefore, you should leave out your opinion about the employee’s personality, their performance at work, their work ethic, and so on. Simply confirm whether the person is an employee at your company or not.
  • The employee’s salary: If the recipient of the letter has not specifically asked for information about the employee’s salary, leave out this information.
  • Social security number: Someone’s social security number is highly confidential information, and therefore, under no circumstances should you divulge information about the employee’s social security number. If the recipient wants to verify such information, ask them to contact the Department of Social Security or eVerify.
  • Other personal information: You should also leave out other personal information about the employee that does not pertain to their employment status, such as their health information, their marital status, failed drug tests, previous legal trouble, job performance, reasons why you would recommend someone not to hire them or approve them for whatever they are applying for, and so on. By sharing such information, you could be violating the law, and therefore, it is best to leave it out.

SAMPLE EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTERS

When all is said done, it is easier to learn how to write an employment verification letter by seeing actual examples, so let’s look at some sample employment verification letters.

Sample 1: Current Employee

Prudence Bolton
Director of Human Resources
Droidcontent, LLC
1278 Park Avenue
Parklands, ML
p.bolton@email.com15/06/2020To whom it may concern, 

RE: EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION FOR DECLAN KING

 

I am writing this letter to verify that Declan King is an employee at Droidcontent LLC, where he works as the Head of Digital Marketing. He has been working for the company since March 1, 2017.

If you need any additional information, you can email me on p.bolton@email.com or reach me on phone at 222-222-2222.

 

Respectfully yours,
(Signature)
Prudence Bolton
Director of Human Resources
Droidcontent, LLC

Sample 2: Former Employee

Prudence Bolton
Director of Human Resources
Droidcontent, LLC
1278 Park Avenue
Parklands, ML
p.bolton@email.com15/06/2020To whom it may concern, 

RE: EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION FOR OSCAR TABAREZ

 

I am writing this letter to confirm that Oscar Tabarez is a former employee of Droidcontent LLC. Mr. Tabarez worked at Droidcontent in the capacity of Marketing Director from June 15, 2015 to December 31, 2019.

If you need any additional information, you can email me on p.bolton@email.com or reach me on phone at 222-222-2222.

 

Sincerely
(Signature)
Prudence Bolton
Director of Human Resources
Droidcontent, LLC

Sample 3: Salary Verification

Prudence Bolton
Director of Human Resources
Droidcontent, LLC
1278 Park Avenue
Parklands, ML
p.bolton@email.com15/06/2020The Brunei Consulate,
8727 Nothern Boulevard,
Queens, NY 

To whom it may concern,

 

RE: EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION FOR OSCAR TABAREZ

 

This letter is to confirm that Mr. Nuncio Cortez is an employee of Droidcontent LLC, where he works as the Operations Manager. He has been working for the company since August 1, 2018. Mr. Cortez has a salary of $150,000 per year.

We require Mr. Cortez to travel to the Nation of Brunei to represent the company in the 2020 Digital Marketing Awards, which will be held between 24 – 27th August 2020.

If you need any additional information, you can email me on p.bolton@email.com or reach me on phone at 222-222-2222.

 

Sincerely
(Signature)
Prudence Bolton
Director of Human Resources
Droidcontent, LLC

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTER TEMPLATE

Depending on the frequency with which you receive requests for employment verification letters, you might want to consider creating a template. With a template, it will be a lot easier and faster for you to fulfill these requests. To make it easier for you, we have created a template that you can use. However, if you so wish, you should feel free to create your own template as well. Below is the template. Simply replace the text in the parenthesis with the relevant information.

Employment Verification Letter

 

[Name]
[Job Title]
[Company Name]
[Address]

 

[Date]

 

[Name of Recipient]
[Recipient’s Job Title]
[Recipient’s Company]
[Recipient’s Company Address]

 

To whom it may concern,

 

RE: EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION FOR [EMPLOYEE NAME]

I am writing this letter to verify that [employee name] is an employee at [company name], where he works as the [employee’s job title]. He has been working for the company since [date of employment commencement].

If you need any additional information, you can email me on [email] or reach me on phone at [telephone number].

 

Sincerely
(Signature)
[Name]
[Job Title]
[Company Name]

CREATING A REQUEST PROCESS FOR EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTERS

To make it easier for you to fulfill the requests of employees, both current and past, who need you to write employment verification letters for them, it is always a good idea to create a process for requesting employment verification letters.

This will make the process easier, both for you and for the employee, and ensure that the letter is delivered on time, as required, and with the correct information.

You can communicate this process to your employees as part of the employee handbook, or in whichever other format you use to communicate company processes to employees.

For instance, you could instruct your employees that whenever they need an employment verification letter, they should submit the request at least three days in advance, and ask them to provide all the relevant information, such as the name and address of the recipient, the delivery instructions, the reason for the request, as well as all the information that they want you to include in the letter.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTER

Can An Employee Write The Letter And Ask You To Sign It?

In an attempt to make things easier for you, some employees might decide to write the employee verification letter themselves and then ask you to make it official by signing it. Is this something you should do?

If you decide to go down this route, you should first go through the information contained in the letter and make sure that it is accurate before appending your signature to the document.

You don’t want to sign a document that contains inaccurate information, since you could easily end up putting yourself in a legal bind.

In addition to signing the document after confirming its accuracy, you should ask the employee to sign the letter. You should also retain a copy of the letter.

What If The Requester Gives You A Work Verification Form To Fill?

Sometimes, instead of asking you to write an employment verification form, some requesters might instead ask you to fill the information in a form provided by them.

If you encounter such a request, simply make sure that you’ve read the form carefully, fill in the required information as accurately as you can, append your signature as required, and then retain a copy of the signed form before sending the original back to the requester.

What If The Employee Is A New Hire Who Is Yet To Start Working For You

Sometimes, a new employee who is relocating might be required to provide proof of employment in order to rent an apartment or purchase a home. However, this employee has not started working for your company yet.

What should you do in such a situation? If you find yourself in such a situation, your best approach is to provide the requester with a signed copy of the employee’s offer letter.

What If The Requester Is Asking For Confidential Information?

You should be very careful about the information you divulge to third parties. If the requester wants you to verify something like an employee’s salary, the best course of action is to ask for the employee’s consent before divulging the information.

Generally, if you feel that the information being requested is confidential, the best approach is to err on the side of caution and leave out the information. For instance, if a requester asks for information about the amount of sick off an employee has taken, sharing such information with a third party would be a HIPAA violation.

Similarly, if you are asked to share information about an employee’s gender, marital status, and so on, it’s best to leave out this information.

Is It A Must For You To Write An Employment Verification Letter For A Past Employee?

In most cases, it is not an absolute must for you to write an employment verification letter for a past employee. However, it is just professional courtesy to do it. After all, it doesn’t really cost you anything.

In some cases, however, you might be legally required to provide the information, such as when the information is being requested by a government agency.

What If The Person Has Never Been Your Employee?

If you receive such a request about a person who has never worked for your company, there is a high chance that the requester doesn’t have accurate information.

In such situations, simply let them know that you have no record of the person working for your company and cannot therefore complete the request.

WRAPPING UP

As someone dealing with HR matters in your organization, you will find yourself in situations where you will need to write an employment verification letter for some of your current or former employees.

If you do, just follow the guidelines shared above.

Most importantly, be carefully not to share any confidential information that may be regarded as a violation of employee privacy laws and regulations.

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