Skip to content

Important Information About Termination of Employment Contracts in Germany

Are you thinking about resignation or have you recently faced termination? In either case, caution is paramount. The termination of an employment contract represents a significant shift for the employee, whether it is a voluntary decision or an involuntary outcome. When an employee seeks to switch companies or is terminated by the employer, there are specific formal and legal regulations that everyone involved must adhere to. Here are ten things every employee in Germany should be aware of.

Termination of the employment contract in Germany in 2024: The most important information

  • Great attention! It is important to note that there are many legal traps to consider when terminating an employment contract – whether by the employer or the employee. You have to pay attention to all the details.
  • An employment contract must always be terminated in writing, with the original signature and full name. Email, text message or fax are not enough in this situation.
    Read also: How to find a job in Germany without knowing the language
  • Employees can find out how long the notice period lasts in the employment contract. However, according to the law, it is at least four weeks. During the trial period, a shorter notice period of two weeks applies. The notice period for the employer is extended depending on the length of service of the employee.
  • If you want to resign, you should deliver your resignation in person to your boss or HR, or send it by mail. Preferably by registered letter.
  • Can you withdraw a resignation? Yes, but only if the supervisor hasn’t read it yet. You must then revoke the resignation in writing.
    Read also: New support programs for German residents in 2024
  • Termination of the contract by the employer must usually be led by a warning. Three warnings are not necessary, as is often assumed.
  • With regard to terminations, a distinction is made between ordinary termination and extraordinary termination or termination without notice. Ordinary termination is with a period of notice. The reasons can be complex, from operational reasons to refusal to work or drinking alcohol at work.
  • Employees who steal from their employer or commit other “significant” breaches of duty should expect to be fired without notice.
  • If you find a termination notice in your mailbox, you should contact an attorney immediately. It is not uncommon for terminations to be invalid, for example due to formal errors.
  • Regardless of whether the termination is legally effective or not, in the event of termination, contact the employment agency as soon as possible. Otherwise, there is a risk that unemployment benefits will be blocked and there may be gaps in insurance coverage, according to Merkur.de.