Received notice of termination? -
What can you do?
The employment relationship can be terminated by either party (employer or em-
ployee) under certain conditions before the expiration of the employment con-
tract. Termination is legally valid, provided the requirements set forth in labour
law or collective agreements are met.
Form of the notice of termination
Notice of termination must be given in writing (§623 BGB / German Civil Code).
Oral notice and notice by e-mail or SMS are not permitted! A written notice of
termination is valid as a printed document sent by post. The notice of termination
must be received; in the event of termination by the employee, delivery by regis-
tered mail is recommended.
The notice must be signed.
The date on which the notice of termination was given is very important. Retro-
active notice is not possible.
Protection against termination
According to the Dismissal Protection Act, termination of the employment rela-
tionship of an employee who has been employed by the same company or organ-
ization without interruption for more than six months is legally invalid if it is so-
According to the general regulations regarding protection against dismissal,
termination by the employer is socially justified only if there are
to the employee‘s person
(e. g.insu cient suitability), the
(e. g.refusal to work, false claims of incapacity to work) or if urgent
Certain groups enjoy special protection against dismissal (e. g.the requirement of
approval by the authorities or the exclusion of ordinary dismissal):
bled persons, women during pregnancy and for four months after childbirth
parental leave (family leave), members of works councils, trainees,
persons in care periods
holders of elective political o ces
In companies in which a works council or sta council has been set up, the works
council must be heard before any notice of termination is issued.
An employee termination is e ective without stating the reason for termination!
No reason for termination is necessary for a regular termination of the employee.
Notice periods pursuant to the German Civil Code
The employment relationship may be terminated by either party (employer or em-
ployee) with a notice period of
to the fifteenth or to the end of a cal-
endar month (§ 622 BGB).
The period of notice runs from the moment the letter of notice
. For this
reason, it is very important to send the letter of notice by registered mail or to
hand it over in the presence of witnesses.
A notice of termination
does not have to be confirmed
by the other party. If the
employee gives notice, he or she does not have to wait until the employer signs or
accepts the resignation. The notice period begins at the moment of delivery. The
same applies to termination by the employer. If the notice of termination is not
unjustified for other reasons, the notice period has been observed and no legal
action for protection against dismissal has been initiated within 3 weeks, the no-
tice of termination is valid. If the notice of termination does not meet the above
requirements, it is invalid and you must resume work immediately.
If other notice periods have been agreed upon in the employment contract, the
Günstigkeitsprinzip (principle of favourability)
applies. The principle
of favourability means that, in cases in which more than one provision of the law
is applicable, the
legal provision that is more favourable to the employee con-
Contractual penalty in the event of termination
Failure to comply with the notice period in the event of termination by the em-
ployee may result in a contractual penalty. However, the employer may demand a
contractual penalty from the employee only if this was agreed upon in the em-
ployment contract (or collective agreement) and if it is appropriate and the em-
ployee is not unreasonably disadvantaged ...
Periods of notice during the probationary period
During a probationary period specified by agreement (for a maximum of six
months), the employment relationship may be terminated with a notice period of
two weeks (§ 622 BGB).
Periods of notice according to collective agreements
Di erent provisions may be set forth in collective agreements. A collective agree-
ment contains legal provisions that regulate the content, conclusion and termina-
tion of employment relationships and operational issues and define the rights and
obligations of the parties to the collective agreement.
Collective agreements have di erent areas of application. There are
in-house collective agreements
in which the employer himself is a party to the
agreement and the agreement applies only to a specific company. Then there are
collective agreements which have been concluded within a collective bargaining
union, i. e. between trade unions and employers‘ associations, for example. Such
a collective agreement applies to an employment relationship if the employer is a
member of the employers‘ association that concluded the collective agreement
and if the employee is member of a trade union. Then there are
which apply to a specific industry and to all employers and
employees within that industry. The generally binding nature of the collective
agreement is declared by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social A airs (§ 5
TVG). In addition, there are still collective agreements which apply only in certain
German states. More information about collective agreements that apply in Sax-
ony can be found at:
The following examples illustrate the di erences between statutory notice peri-
ods and collective bargaining notice periods. For
tive agreements, please contact the
Advisory Center for Foreign Employees in
Periods of notice – building cleaning services
A collective agreement addresses the specific features of the building cleaning
sector and is b
inding for all employees and employers in the building cleaning
An employment relationship in the building cleaning sector can be terminated by
either party with two weeks‘ notice (even after the end of the probationary period).
During the first two weeks of employment, notice of termination may be issued
with a notice period of one
During the period from 1 November to 31 March, the employer has the option of
terminating the employee‘s employment by giving one working day‘s notice due
to weather conditions. However, this is possible only if the employee cannot be
employed elsewhere in the company. Such cases must be discussed with the
works council, and the employee concerned has the right to reinstatement.
Periods of notice - Temporary work
There are two collective agreements in the temporary employment sector –
iGZ-DGB-Tarifgemeinschaft und BAP / DGB-Tarifgemeinschaft
. Your employ-
ment contract specifies which collective agreement applies to you.
Periods of notice according to iGZ-DGB-
Tarifgemeinschaft collective agreement
The first six months are considered a probationary period.
During the first four weeks of the probationary period, the employment relation-
ship may be terminated with a notice period of
two working days
From the fifth week until the end of the second month the notice period is one
week. The notice period is two weeks from the third month until the sixth month
of the employment relationship.
From the seventh month of the employment relationship, the statutory notice pe-
riods apply to both parties – that is,
to the fifteenth or the end of a
Periods of notice according to the collective
agreement for the BAP / DGB tari community
The first six months are considered a probationary period.
During the probationary period, the employment relationship may be terminated
during the first three months with
one week‘s notice
. Thereafter, i. e. between the
third and sixth month, the statutory notice periods apply during the probationary
period, i. e.
After the probationary period, the employment relationship may be terminated with
a notice period of
to the fifteenth or to the end of a calendar month.
In the case of new hires, the notice period may be shortened to
the first two weeks of the employment relationship.
Periods of notice - construction industry
The employment relationship may be terminated by either party during the first
six months by giving
six working days‘ notice
After six months or after commencement of employment following successful
vocational training, both parties may terminate the employment relationship with
a notice period of
twelve working days
The employment relationship cannot be terminated during the period from 1 De-
cember to 31 March (bad weather period) due to weather conditions.
The employment relationship may be terminated
without prior notice
party to the contract
if facts exist on the basis of which the continua-
tion of the employment relationship until expiration of the notice period or until
the contractually specified date of termination of the employment relationship
cannot be reasonably expected (§ 626 BGB), e. g.refusal to work, theft, etc.
As a rule, extraordinary termination must be preceded by a
of termination must be issued
within two weeks
. This period begins on the date
on which the party entitled to terminate the contract becomes aware of the facts
cited in justification of termination.
The terminating party must inform the employee concerned of the reason for ter-
mination in writing upon request.
A termination or cancellation agreement is an agreement between the employee
and the employer to terminate the employment relationship. Under the terms of
such an agreement, the parties do not have to comply with the statutory notice
the date of termination is specified in the agreement
Unlike a notice of termination, a termination agreement requires the consent of
both the employee and the employer. The termination agreement is valid
signed by both parties
The termination agreement must be
recorded in writing
The termination agreement may have certain advantages as well as disadvantages
for the employee. The termination agreement is a good instrument for the em-
ployee if he or she is unable to comply with the notice periods for various reasons –
for example if he or she wishes to accept a new job before the end of the notice
The employee should not sign the termination agreement if he or she does not
have another job. After the termination agreement has been concluded, a
at the Agentur für Arbeit (National Employment Agency) must be
expected. Since the termination agreement requires the employee‘s consent, it is
regarded by the Agentur für Arbeit as equivalent to termination by the employee.
No unemployment benefits are paid during the blocking period, and the unem-
ployment benefit is reduced by 25 % thereafter. There is no entitlement to health
insurance during the blocking period! The employee must take out private health
insurance during this period.
Notice of termination and unemployment
According to § 38 Abs. 1 SGB III, persons whose employment relationship ends
must register with the Employment Agency at least three months before the
end of their employment. If the notice period is less than 3 months, the em-
ployee must report to the Employment Agency within three days.
Termination and health insurance
In Germany, the employer may dismiss their employees
during periods of inca-
pacity for work
. In the event of dismissal during illness, the statutory and collec-
tive agreement notice periods must be observed.
According to § 19 SGB V, employees are entitled to benefits for
termination, even if they are not gainfully employed.
In the event of incapacity to work, insured persons are obliged to inform their
health insurance fund
within seven days
and hand in their health insurance cer-
If you comply with this obligation, you can receive health insurance benefits for
up to 78 weeks
after termination. The sickness benefit amounts to 70 % of your
last gross salary.
If you do not comply with this obligation, you will automatically be registered as
by the health insurance fund and will have to pay your own
health insurance contributions.
Legal action in cases of dismissal
If the employee considers a dismissal to be socially unjustified, he or she can file
an appeal with the
(if one exists)
within one week of dismissal
the works council considers the objection to be justified, it must attempt to reach
an agreement with the employer (§ 3 KSchG).
If an employee wishes to claim that a notice of termination is socially unjustified
or legally invalid for other reasons, he or she must file a complaint before the
of receipt of the written notice of termination.
If the employee has filed an objection with the works council, he or she should
attach a statement by the works council to the complaint (§ 4 KSchG).
Other reasons why a notice of termination may be invalid include the following:
notice has not been issued in the proper form (but rather orally or by email); the
employee is a member of the works council, the employee is pregnant, the em-
ployee is severely handicapped, the employee was terminated without notice and
without warning, although the requirements were not met, etc.
Any employee may file a dismissal protection complaint with the appropriate la-
bour court himself at the legal request o ce (1st instance). Here the judicial of-
ficers help with the filing of an application or also with the elevation of a com-
plaint (here there is however no legal advice).
If the decision is appealed in 1st instance, the employee must be represented by a
You will find contact information for the respective labour courts at:
Employees who are members of a trade union
are entitled to free legal advice
and representation before the labour court after three months of membership.
More information on trade unions can be found at:
This is how you can reach us:
Counselling center in Dresden
Schützenplatz 14 (1st floor), 01067 Dresden
Phone: +49 351 85092728
German, Slovak, Polish,
Phone: +49 351 85092729
Counselling center in Leipzig
Listhaus Leipzig – Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 27
(ground floor), 04103 Leipzig
German, Polish, English
Phone: +49 341 68413085
Phone: +49 341 68413086
O ce Management Dresden and Leipzig
Phone: +49 351 85092730
This publication contains general information in-
tended for your guidance. No guarantee can be given for the accuracy
of any information provided herein, nor can any legal claims be derived
on the basis of the contents of this publication.
The counselling center for foreign employees in Saxony (BABS) is
an initiative of the Saxon State Ministry of Economic A airs, Labor
and Transport and is financed from tax funds on the basis of a
resolution passed by the members of the Saxon State Parliament.
BABS – Counselling Center for Foreign Employees in Saxony
Schützenplatz 14, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Phone +49 351 8509 2730
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