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Old 15.08.2010, 15:40
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Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

Hi Forum,

I am going to leave my job ( or be asked to leave ) in a month or so and have asked my employer for an "intermediate work certificate". I figured it was better to ask now while I am still employed so I can get the right wording before I'm out the door and get issued with the final certificate and have less leverage to revert.

Question is, I heard there is special wording they use to differentiate between "good" and "bad" employees -

Mr X has performed his duties to our satisfaction = BAD
Mr X has performed his duties to our complete satisfaction = GOOD

... and guess what they've put on my certificate!

I was a "B" grade employee until 3 months ago when I was signed off with stress, and I decided not to go back to a negative environment. I asked for my certificate up until the beginning of my absence but I get the feeling they are trying to snipe me for being absent ( a few other reasons too, but that's not the issue for this thread ) - in any case, they are proving themselves less than trustworthy across the board, so I'm being super careful with this certificate, essentially my reference for future employers.

Has anyone heard of this wording thing?

Thanks Forum !

PS - I didn't see any other threads on this, I read the FAQ AND googled it
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Old 15.08.2010, 15:48
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

You are right. Our satisfaction is bad and you shouldn't accept it. It should be either full satisfaction or fullest satisfaction.

Once you know you will be leaving you should go to your local RAV office. They can help you with all this and will also help you contest a bad work certificate.
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Old 15.08.2010, 15:58
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

Thanks for the confirmation, very useful information!

Honestly, those buggers ....
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:03
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

There is normally also a clause where it says that it is with great regret that they see you leave. Make sure it is great regret, not just regret.
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:08
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

First of all coding of work certificates is theoretically not allowed in Switzerland, but neverthless some employers still do it. So the practice of HR is to write some lines at the end of the work certificate confirming it is not coded.
(If they haven't written it or come up with excuses not to do it, then you should get suspicious.)

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Question is, I heard there is special wording they use to differentiate between "good" and "bad" employees -

Mr X has performed his duties to our satisfaction = BAD
Mr X has performed his duties to our complete satisfaction = GOOD

... and guess what they've put on my certificate!
The term you'd like to see in your work certificate is actually:
- Mr x hat die uebertragenen Aufgaben stets zu unser vollsten Zufriedenheit erledigt.
- Mr x has always performed his duties to our fullest satisfaction.
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:10
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

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First of all coding of work certificates is theoretically not allowed in Switzerland, but neverthless some employers still do it. So the practice of HR is to write some lines at the end of the work certificate confirming it is not coded.
(If they haven't written it or come up with excuses not to do it, then you should get suspicious.)


The term you'd like to see in your work certificate is actually:
- Mr x hat die uebertragenen Aufgaben stets zu unser vollsten Zufriedenheit erledigt.
- Mr x has always performed his duties to our fullest satisfaction.
Hi - thanks for the reply, can I just ask what you mean by "coding" in this context ?
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:19
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

Coding in this context means that one HR department / employer is sending a message, a 'code', to future HR departments / employers. They do this, as you have discovered, by leaving out certain standard words, or.. putting in a few, within the reference.

CK
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:20
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

Okie, got it - thank you!
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:24
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

Do you really think anybody takes that much notice of work certificates ?
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:27
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

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Hi - thanks for the reply, can I just ask what you mean by "coding" in this context ?
For example:

- He has been well respected with his team colleagues. = He had issues with his managers.

- He was very sociable with his team colleagues. = He has an alcohol issue.

- He always tried to fulfill the given tasks. = He is not capable to work independently, does it in a complicated way.

It used to be standard in German speaking countries to code work certificates, still is in Germany common practice I think, but nowadays in CH you can ask for an uncoded work certificate, and HR is obliged to write it in the way the employee requested.

Edit: There are various books available which help to de-code a work certificate, or examples online: http://www.capital.de/karriere/job/100013227.html
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:36
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

BTW: I have having a fight about my leaving certificate from Geneva.
Let me know if you need an attorney that speaks English.
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:39
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

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Do you really think anybody takes that much notice of work certificates ?
Fair comment, but if I wanted to carry on working in Switzerland, I think it would be prudent to make sure I had covered all bases. After all, the WC is your employer reference and I am pretty much in their bad books for taking sick leave. I just get the feeling they are trying to screw me ( I've seen it with 2 other colleagues in the past year ... )
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:42
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

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Do you really think anybody takes that much notice of work certificates ?
Swiss employers unfortunately take work certificates really seriously. An unsatisfactory work certificate will cause quite some difficulties when applying for a job, so it'll better to check carefully before you accept to it.
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Old 15.08.2010, 16:45
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

It is taken extremely serious in Switzerland so you'd be very silly not to contest a bad certificate. That is also why RAV is so much involved in this issue. They realize how important a proper certificate is for your chances to get a new job.


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Do you really think anybody takes that much notice of work certificates ?
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Old 15.08.2010, 17:14
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

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It is taken extremely serious in Switzerland so you'd be very silly not to contest a bad certificate. That is also why RAV is so much involved in this issue. They realize how important a proper certificate is for your chances to get a new job.
I got an interim or on demand zeugnis ( Zwischenzeugnis ) that was essential in securing a non-competing position.
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Old 15.08.2010, 18:00
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

1) As long as they do not write anything expressively negative in your certificate, there's not much you can do about it except try to convince them to change the delicate wording. They could perhaps add the other sentences already mentioned by the other posters.

2) If they refuse, I believe you may ask them to stipulate on the certificate that it is not "coded".

3) Your request to have a certificate only up until the time of absence is not possible, as:
- a final certificate will have to cover the whole duration of employment
- an intermediate certificate would cover your employment until the date of the certificate and would indicate that you continue to be employed
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Old 15.08.2010, 21:48
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

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Do you really think anybody takes that much notice of work certificates ?
That is my question too! Seems usually once when the new company decided to give you an offer, they ask for the work certif.
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Old 15.08.2010, 22:12
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

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Do you really think anybody takes that much notice of work certificates ?
No! I have had 5 jobs here and I don't have a reference from any of them - I never got around to asking! All but one has been with Swiss companies and it has not been an issue.

I switched jobs this summer to another Swiss company and when they asked for references I just told them I did not have any! The HR person's comment was that they were not worth much anyways and left it at that.

Perhaps I have been very lucky but I doubt it.

Jim.
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Old 15.08.2010, 22:13
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

Here in Switzerland ? oh yes they certainly do.
In some cases a very good certificate stipulating experience, attitude, expertise, presence etc can be as good as a college degree (I'm not kidding).

This can seem strange to people arriving from other countries, but here the work certificate is a typical classic structure and is implemented in Swiss Labour law.
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Old 15.08.2010, 22:18
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Re: Intermediate Work Certificate - Secret Wording !?

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No! I have had 5 jobs here and I don't have a reference from any of them - I never got around to asking! All but one has been with Swiss companies and it has not been an issue.

I switched jobs this summer to another Swiss company and when they asked for references I just told them I did not have any! The HR person's comment was that they were not worth much anyways and left it at that.

Perhaps I have been very lucky but I doubt it.

Jim.
Don't believe it's a question of luck Jim. Most HRs do not expect EU members to have work certificates or attach too much importance to them as work certificates may be inexistant in the candidate's country of origin.

And it is also possible that you are very specialized in a field where qualified personnel may be hard to come by, and they could be so happy to get the talent they need.

Nevertheless for regular jobs within the Swiss market, work certificates are a must.
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