Q: Am I obliged to give an ex-employee a Reference Letter?

My employee can’t read or write


No, you’re not. But be careful not to confuse a Letter of Reference with a Letter of Service. When an employee’s employment terminates, you must provide a Letter of Service. The Letter of Service can be used to provide confirmation of the following:

  • The start and end dates of the employee’s employment
  • The employee’s job title and general duties
  • The salary or rate of remuneration that the employee was earning as at termination.

A Letter of Reference is generally a written testimonial in which you praise the employee, or identify the positive attributes the employee brings to their job. There is no obligation to provide an employee with a letter of reference.

Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.