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Although the standards are available in both HR-XML and HR-JSON, certification is currently only available for HR-XML specifications.  Please check back for HR-JSON certifications.

Employers/End Users

What is HRCertify?

How can my business benefit from HR data interchange standards?

How can I ensure my HR vendors use open data exchange standards?


What are the benefits of certifying my HR software or service?

How can I register my product or service with HRCertify?

What criteria are used in awarding certifications?

How can I test my HR solution to see if it produces documents that are valid against HR-XML schemas?

What is a conformance statement?

What are the terms for use of the HR Open Standards Certified Logo?

Can my organization renew its certification after expiration of an initial two-year certification period?

Can I certify against a depreciated specification?

What are the fees for certification?

About XML

What Is XML? Why is it important?

What is an XML schema?

What technologies are related to XML?

About HR Open Standards

What is the HR Open Standards Consortium?

How does HR Open Standards handle unique trading partner requirements?

How can I find out more?

How do I get involved?

What is HRCertify?

HRCertify is the place to locate software and services that use the data exchange standards developed by the HR Open Standards Consortium, Inc. These standards were developed through the open processes of the HR Open Standards Consortium, an independent, non-profit, volunteer-led organization. The standards encapsulate a wealth of knowledge contributed by individuals and organizations from across the HR management domain.

Organizations that successfully complete the certification process are awarded a logo to use on their websites and a link to a conformance statement within the HRcertify registry. The HR Open Standards Certified logo signals that a vendor is a technology leader and is ready to integrate flexibly and opportunistically with customers and partners.

How can my business benefit from HR data interchange standards?

Research shows that upfront software costs account for only 30 to 40 percent (or less) of the total cost of implementing HR information solutions. Discovery, analysis, custom interface development, and ongoing maintenance account for the other 60 to 70 percent of many HR information system solutions.

Data interchange standards can reduce the amount of expensive customization required to make implementations of HR solutions productive. The HR Open Standards Consortium's data interchange standards provide flexible, extensible templates that can readily be used to integrate disparate systems. Without industry standards, ad hoc data interchange formats must be developed or employers are left to adopt a proprietary format provided by vendors.

Data interchange standards based on XML also support other employer business priorities. For example, it is increasingly common to deliver employee and manager self-service through portals. However, it is much less common for changes submitted through portals (for example, address changes, changes to dependent information, etc.) to be reflected in real time in the downstream record keeping systems maintained by providers of benefits and HR services. Integrating data across systems in real time is the very thing that XML-based standards are designed to support.

How can I ensure my HR vendors use open data exchange standards?

If you are the person responsible for making or influencing decisions about HR information solutions, you often can reap the benefits of HR-XML data exchange standards simply by asking your vendors the right questions! Ask current and prospective vendors:

1. Are you capable of processing XML?

2. Have you implemented (or do you plan to implement) HR-XML data exchange standards?

3. Are you members of the HR Open Standards Consortium?

4. Have you successfully certified the relevant data exchange standards with

You should also modify requests for proposals (RFPs), contracts, and other vendor requirements to ensure vendors are willing and able to support HR-XML data exchange standards. Use the four questions above as the basis for your RFP language.

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What are the benefits of certifying my HR software or service?

Vendors that successfully certify their solutions are awarded the HR Open Standards Certified logo and an entry in the HRCertify registry.

Being awarded the HR Open Standards Certified logo signals that your organization is a technology leader and is ready to integrate flexibly and opportunistically with customers and partners.

Having an entry in the searchable registry maintained by HRcertify enables your solution to be discovered by customers and partners looking for cutting-edge applications that integrate easily via HR Open standards.

Going through the certification process will also provide your development team an opportunity to validate their work and their understanding of HR Open standards.

In addition, being certified will position your company to meet customer procurement criteria. A growing number of customers are asking prospective suppliers of HR information services about their use of HR Open standards.

How can I register my product or service with HRCertify?

HRCertify offers vendors the opportunity to register software and services that implement HR Open Standards' open data exchange standards. In addition, consulting firms can register their HR Open Standards implementations between a client and a trading partner.

It is easy and risk free to explore certification with HRCertify. If you represent an HR vendor or service provider, you can begin the certification process by filling out a simple form describing your implementation of HR Open standards. After receiving your request, a certification specialist will send you instructions on the certification process along with a brief set of questions to determine how your implementation satisfies basic certification criteria. The instructions will identify any associated certification fees. The specialist also may follow up with additional questions based on the facts and circumstances of your implementation. The specialist will require you to provide several XML instances that are representative of what your solution generates or consumes. The specialist will use such instances to see if they are valid against the relevant HR-XML schema and to examine whether the use of XML components is semantically appropriate.

Finally, the specialist will work with you to draft a conformance statement that briefly describes your solution and its use of the associated HR-XML Specification.

What criteria are used in awarding certifications?

Certifications are granted after an HR Open Standards certification specialist has considered the facts and circumstances of your implementation. The following criteria must be satisfied:

  • The HR solution offered must be capable of generating and/or receiving compliant HR-XML documents.
  • Extensions to HR-XML specifications should be implemented within extension mechanisms prescribed by the HR Open Standards Consortium.
  • The implementer's use of components specified in HR-XML specifications should be semantically appropriate.
  • The application or service relying on an HR-XML specification must be commercially available or must otherwise have actually been implemented with a customer or client.

How can I test my HR solution to see if it produces documents that are valid against HR-XML schemas?

As a service to implementers of HR-XML specifications, the HR Open Standards Consortium has deployed an online "testbed" for HR Open Standards' and 2.5 and 3.X releases. Send any questions about the testbed to Note that successful validation using the testbed does not constitute certification. HR Open Standards Consortium Certification can only be awarded by applying for certification through

What is a conformance statement?

In addition to receiving the HR Open Standards Consortium Certified logo, each organization achieving certification will receive an entry in a searchable registry and a Company listing on the HR Open Standards website. This entry will contain the organization's "conformance statement." A conformance statement contains two parts:

1. The first part describes how the certified solution uses the associated HR Open Standards Consortium standard.

2. Optionally, the registrant can include a brief, descriptive statement about the certifying company and product or other implementation. Language that is overtly promotional, rather than descriptive or informative, is not appropriate.

What are the terms for use of the HR Open Standards Certified Logo?

Implementers of HR-XML specifications that successfully certify their applications or services are awarded the "HR Open Standards Certified Logo" to use on their website and in marketing materials. Use of the HR Open Standards Certified Logo is limited to the product certified and website usage is confined to the hyperlink specified on the conformance statement.

Organizations, in good standing, with certified applications/services will have use of the logo during a two-year period.

For certifications by General and non-members, the two-year period for the use of the logo begins with the date of the first successful certification awarded within the set of up to five certifications covered by the payment of the certification fee. The same two-year period would apply to the entire set of up to five certifications. HR Open Standards Premier Members are not subject to certification fees. For Premier members the two-year period for use of the logo applies from the date of each individual certification awarded within the set of up to five certifications covered by their membership fee.

Certifications are awarded at the sole discretion and judgment of the HR Open Standards Consortium. Certifications can be withdrawn at the discretion of the HR Open Standards Consortium. The HR Open Standards Consortium Certified logo is a trademark of the HR Open Standards Consortium, Inc.

Can my organization renew its certification after expiration of an initial two-year certification period?

If your organization has already certified an HR solution it may apply for renewal of it is certification against the most recent 2.X or 3.X release. HR Open Standards will only allow certification on the most recent release of either 2.X or 3.X architecture. Once HR Open Standards has updated a version of either 2.X or 3.X then companies have 12 months to upgrade before their next recertification date. Recertification is subject to applicable fees and review by an HR certification specialist. Certified companies are required to maintain their compliance with HR-XML standards for the duration of their two year certification.

Can I certify against a deprecated specification?

New and re-certification may only be completed against the latest version of 2.X or 3.X. Thus, if your organization has invested in the development of an HR Open Standards interface, there is incentive for you to certify without delay to protect your eligibility for certification.

What are the fees for certification?

Certification is a two-year benefit. Certification fees and the no-cost befit for Premier-level members cover certifications against up to five schema in a two-year period.

Fees for Non-Member Organizations:

The certification fee covers certifications against up to five major schemas. If you have multiple products or modules that implement the same schema, up to three such products/modules can be covered within the same certification request. The schemas against which you would certify and any related fees would be identified in a invoice provided to you after you submit the certification request form.

Fees for HR Open Standards Consortium Member Organizations are as follows:

Member Level

Fee (per two-year certification)




$1,000 USD is due each year of the 2 year certification (Pay Online


$3,000 USD is due each year of the 2 year certification (Pay Online)


If an organization's membership should expire during the two-year certification period, the organization will be responsible for the balance of non-membership certification fees.

NOTE: HR Open Standards' Individual Membership is a personal membership for individuals. Individual Members that want to certify the applications or services would be subject to the fee schedule for non-member organizations.

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What Is XML? Why is it important?

Extensible Markup Language or "XML" is the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) specification for developing descriptive markup languages for use in the delivery of information across the Internet.

XML looks like Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), the markup language used to create Web pages. However, these two markup technologies have different purposes. HTML prescribes the how web pages should look. The primary purpose of XML is to add structure and intelligence to data exchange.

XML allows information creators to apply self-describing markup (or "tags") around each discrete element of data. Encapsulating each piece of data in self-describing markup makes XML data easy for computers to access, transfer, index, search, and secure.

XML is a simple technology that was designed explicitly for the Internet. Because it is simple and Internet-ready, XML is embraced and strongly supported by technology leaders, such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, and Sun. Thus, regardless of your programming environment and regardless of whether you have aging legacy systems, a state-of-the-art HRMS, or one or more "best-of-breed” hosted solutions — if you need to engineer data exchanges between systems or trading partners, XML is likely to fit into the solution.

What is an XML schema?

XML Schemas define the data elements for particular transactions as well as set out options and constraints governing the use of those elements. XML vocabularies, such as those being developed by the HR Open Standards Consortium, Inc., are defined using the W3C's XML Schema Definition Language.

Schemas also enable automated processing and error checking of XML documents using a "parser.” A parser is a piece of software that compares an XML document to the definitions in an XML schema. In addition, XML parsers implement standard application programming interface (API) definitions that enable programmers to access and manipulate each discrete piece of data within an XML document. Support for XML has become truly ubiquitous. XML parsers are available for all contemporary programming environments as well as certain legacy programming languages.

What technologies are related to XML?

Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT) is a companion technology that provides a way to convert XML data so that it can be displayed in a browser, Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), or other mobile device. This gives XML clear advantages over technologies such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). XSLT also provides a way to transform XML data to and from proprietary or legacy formats.

XML also is a foundation for a range of other emerging technologies that will enable highly flexible HR services and systems. "Web services” is among the most significant of those emerging technologies. Basically, a web service is an URL-addressable application that can be integrated with other applications using Internet standards. Web services spare implementers from having to learn details about the systems of trading partners with which they wish to exchange data. To integrate with a trading partner, an implementer only needs to understand how to send and receive the XML-based messages specified in a "web services contract.” Those messages often will be based on industry XML standards, such as those being developed by the HR Open Standards Consortium.

While web services show tremendous promise and potential, HR Open Standards' specifications are independent of specific implementation frameworks or message transport. Thus, HR-XML specifications can be implemented in a wide variety of ways. For instance, some implementers may want to implement HR-XML within the Electronic Business XML (ebXML) framework.

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What is the HR Open Standards Consortium?

The HR Open Standards Consortium is the only independent, non-profit, volunteer-led organization dedicated to the development and promotion of a standard suite of specifications to enable human resource related data exchanges. 

Our mission:

  • To lead the ongoing development of robust, extensible, global HR interoperability standards enabling easy-to-implement, time- and cost-effective integration of HR systems.
  • To expand and engage the community to share experiences and expertise for the betterment of the community.
  • To collaborate with other standards organizations to ensure interoperability and business alignment.

How does HR Open Standards handle unique trading partner requirements?

Many prospective HR Open Standards implementers may find the idea of standards to be appealing, but they may wonder if HR Open Standards specifications can possibly handle the many and varied requirements imposed by their trading partner relationships.

HR Open Standards schemas include UserAreas. The UserArea allows implementers to insert whatever custom XML structures their business processes or trading partners may require. Definitions for customizations in the UserArea can be set out in a separate schema maintained by the owner of the extensions. The UserArea extension mechanism also allows implementers to specify the context of their extensions within the HR-XML standard schemas.

How can I find out more?

If you have questions about HR Open Standards, want to discuss making a business case for HR Open Standards within your organization, or want to know more about implementation options, send an email to

To be alerted to the latest developments regarding the HR Open Standards Consortium, register for a HR Open Standards Login.

How do I get involved?

Membership within the HR Open Standards Consortium is open to HR professionals, vendors, consultants, and other users or providers of HR systems and services. To join HR Open Standards or to obtain information on membership options, please visit the HR Open Standards benefits chart.

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