What Is an Employment Verification Letter?

An employment verification letter (EVL), proof of employment, or verification of employment (VOE) letter, despite its title, is more than just a letter. It’s a legal document proving the dates and details of a current or previous employee’s relationship with your business.  As such, there are rules and regulations governing what you can and can’t say in an EVL.

Because employment verification letters are used to share personal details about an employee with a third party, the content is governed by both employment law and data protection regulations. This is why even if you want to write your own employment verification letter from scratch, it’s important to make sure you have a good idea of the rules and regulations that apply.

Applicable laws also vary depending on whom your employment verification letter is for, who requested it and whether the employee in question has given permission for the request. Additionally, laws about employee consent and what data can and must be released vary from state to state. These letters can be required for work permit and visa applications, income verification by mortgage and loan companies (or debt collectors), background checks by landlords, potential employers and more.

As an employer, you need more than just a couple of template letters to cover most eventualities. You need a clear, concise employment verification policy.  What’s more, you must make sure anyone who is responsible for writing employment verification letters has enough training to prevent them from breaking any of the associated laws. Without these precautions, your company is at risk of prosecution.

 

Consent

Consent from the employee isn’t always a legal requirement, but some states have laws that make written consent mandatory. It’s safer to assume that consent is a must-have, as it provides legal protection in case of any problems down the line.

 

How Do You Write an Employment Verification Letter?

If, after reading all that, you still want to write your own employment verification letter, the first thing you need to do is read up on the laws that apply in your state. If your workplace already has a policy in place, you’ll be able to save time by using that as a reference.  Then, start by looking over some of the templates below, to give you an idea of what style and tone you want to use.

As for the content of your letter? That depends very much on the purpose of the letter, who has asked for it, whom it’s for and whether or not you have formal permission from the employee in question.

What Are the Elements Of an Employment Verification Letter?

A rule of thumb is to only provide the information necessary for the letter’s purpose — i.e. if the letter is for a rental agent, you don’t need to include in-depth info on the worker’s job responsibilities.

Remember, if you receive an unsolicited request for an EVL from a debt collector or other third party, without specific permission from the employee, you are under no obligation to share any details about your worker.

Employment Verification Letters usually contain the following, at a minimum:

  • Name, date of birth and social security number of the employee in question
  • The employee’s job title plus the name and address of the company
  • The start date of their employment and the termination date (if no longer employed there)
  • The employee’s salary details, including the average hours worked per week

A more detailed letter for a prospective employer may also contain:

  • Information about the individual’s job functions
  • Notes about the person’s attitude at work
  • Reasons for termination of employment and whether or not that person is eligible for re-hire

A person might need an employment verification letter for a visa application, a rent agreement, or to obtain a home loan.

Why Do You Need an Employment Verification Letter?

Given that the content of your letter depends so heavily on its purpose, let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the more common reasons for needing an EVL.

Rent or Lease Agreements

A common reason for an employee or rental agent to ask for an EVL is as part of a background check prior to a rent or lease agreement. Usually regarding current employees, the main purpose of this letter will be to verify whether or not the employee has a steady enough income to afford the rent and deposit.

You should always seek written permission from the worker before giving out these details.

Immigration

It’s a requirement for many types of visa applications for an employee to provide proof of employment. H1B visa applications and green card applications are some of the more common reasons for immigration-related requests.  There will be a letter of advice from the government department detailing what must be included in the letter.

Home and Auto Loans

Another common request from existing employees, loan companies are most interested in making sure the subject of the letter is financially secure enough to afford the loan.

Government Benefits

Like other government letters, you should be provided with guidance on what to include. As a general rule, include hours worked per week, as well as current/final salary, along with reason for termination if you’re talking about a former employee.

Potential Employers

In addition to basic information about job title, employer and salary, these requests should also include the individual’s reason for leaving, a more detailed overview of the job role and whether or not the person is eligible for re-hire.  How much more detail you go into is up to you. There are no federal laws governing how much or little you can say about your employee, but state laws may vary.

Typically, prospective employers will want to know about job performance, specific responsibilities and attitude at work.  Again, you aren’t obliged to provide any information; it’s wise to keep it simple and to the point. Even when you provide negative feedback about the employee, stick to minimal facts.

Stick to the facts when writing an employment verification letter.

How to Request an Employment Verification Letter

If you’re in HR, work for a rental agency or bank or even need a letter about yourself for one of the reasons listed above, you’ll need to request an EVL. The first thing to remember is that written consent is almost always needed, so get written consent from the employee early on in the process, before you make any calls or send any letters.

If you’re requesting a letter for yourself, you can use the first template listed below this section. If possible, find out the name of the person you’re writing to in HR and, of course, be polite. In most cases, your signed request letter also serves dual purpose as your written consent.

Start by verifying the contact details of the company by looking them up online or elsewhere. This makes sure the employee hasn’t given you their friend’s details. Call the company on the phone and ask to speak with HR (regardless of who has been suggested as a contact).  Say what the call is about, including the name of the employee and if necessary, the employee’s date of birth and social security number to make sure you’ve got the right person. Ask for confirmation regarding whether the person works or has worked there, and find out the procedure for requesting an EVL.

Because the main purpose of the call was to make sure the company exists and that the given details were correct, now it’s time to follow up your call with a polite letter.

Sample combination request letter/written consent letter from an employee to an HR department:

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTER 

Dear [Name],

I’m applying for a new apartment, and need an employment verification letter to help me prove to the landlord that I can afford the property.  Please could you provide [Name of Landlord] with the following information:

  • My name, date of birth and social security number
  • My job title
  • Company name and how long I’ve worked there
  • My current salary

Their address is:

1801 Nothaven Drive

Madeupsville, PA 12345

If someone from [Name of Company or Rental Agency] calls, you have my permission to share this information with them.

Many thanks, I really appreciate it.

[Your Name]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Job Title]

Sample letter from a prospective employer asking for an employment verification letter:

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTER 

Dear Sir/Madam,

I’m contacting you to request verification of employment for your former employee:

[Name, DoB, Social Security Number]

[Name] has applied for a job with [Your Company]. Please could you provide the following information:

  • Name, date of birth, social security number
  • Job title and responsibilities
  • Reason for termination, and whether this person is eligible for re-employment
  • Their final salary
  • Anything else you can say about their performance at work

I have attached their written consent. Please let me know if you need anything else.

Many thanks,

[Your Name]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Job Title]

Sample Employment Verification Letters

Use these letters as a template to guide your employment verification letters. There’s a simple template for an existing employee’s letter for a loan agency or landlord, and a longer one for a previous employee’s job application.

Sample Letter for an existing employee’s loan or rental agency application (or similar)

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTER 

Dear [Name],

Thank you for your request for an employment verification letter regarding:

[Employee Name, DoB, Social Security Number]

I can confirm that the following information is true:

NAME OF COMPANY:

JOB TITLE:

DATE OF EMPLOYMENT:

CURRENT SALARY:

Please let me know if you need anything else.

Many thanks

[Your Name]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Job Title]

Sample employment verification letter for a job application by a previous employee:

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION LETTER 

Dear [Name], Thank you for your enquiry about:

[Name, DoB, Social Security Number]

I can confirm that [Name] is a previous employee of [Company Name], and that the following details are true:

NAME OF COMPANY:

JOB TITLE:

MOST RECENT SALARY:

DATE OF EMPLOYMENT:

DATE OF TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT:

REASON FOR LEAVING:

ELIGIBLE FOR RE-EMPLOYMENT:    Y / N

ANY OTHER INFORMATION:

Please let me know if you need anything else.

Many thanks

[Your Name]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Job Title]