How to quit your job in Germany the right way: steps to leave on
In today's world, it is quite normal to change jobs to achieve professional and personal growth. There are also good reasons to resign: the desire to learn something new, moving to another city, etc. Find out how to resign in Germany in a professional and respectful manner to avoid burning bridges with your employer and the federal government
Thanks to its stable economy, high standard of living and developed social sphere, Germany is the most popular country in Europe among expats. More than 10 million foreigners came to the country in search of a better life and building a career. Quite often, specialists decide to change jobs for professional development in Germany and to increase the level of income. Many formalities must be followed in order for the termination of employment to take place calmly and with respect for the employer and the immigration service.
How to resign from a job in Germany? We will talk about the procedure in detail later.
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How can a foreigner quit his job in Germany?
Foreigners who work in Germany on the basis of a temporary residence permit or a blue card must fulfill a number of additional requirements before changing jobs:
● If you have lived in Germany for less than two years, you will need permission from the Immigration Service (Ausländerbehörde) before you can change jobs, as your work permit may be tied to your current employer.
Importantly! Expats who change jobs without consulting the immigration service may completely lose their residence permit.
● If you have lived in Germany for more than two years, your work permit is probably no longer tied to your employer and you are free to change jobs.
To check whether you have the right to change jobs in Germany, consult a highly qualified employment lawyer.
Dismissal in Germany depending on the type of contract
In recent years, fixed-term employment contracts have become increasingly popular in Germany. They can be found especially often in the employment of young specialists. The validity of such a contract is terminated automatically after the end of the agreed period of work. Extraordinary termination is possible only if there is a valid reason. Most cases are considered individually.
An open-ended employment contract is concluded between you and the employer for an indefinite period. Employees have the right to resign at their own will, even without valid reasons. However, it is necessary to warn the employer about your intentions in advance.
8 simple steps to quit your job in Germany
● Step 1 – Check your employment contract and determine the notice period
Employees in Germany must notify their employer of their intention to resign. You can find out how much time you have to notify your manager about the termination of cooperation in your employment contract. Every employer requires different notice periods, from the statutory four weeks to three months or more.
If your employment contract does not have a notice period clause or refers to German law, then the statutory period applies. It depends on the time you worked in the company:
- During the probationary period (0 - 6 months), it is necessary to notify the employer about dismissal at least 2 weeks in advance.
- If the duration of work is from 7 months to 2 years - notify the employer at least 4 weeks in advance.
- Period of work from 2 years - in 1 month.
- Having worked for more than 5 years - give a 2-month notice of dismissal.
● Step 2 – Find out when you need to submit a resignation letter
Check the details of when your notification deadline will start. For example, some employment contracts state that you must submit your resignation by the 15th or end of the calendar month.
"Until the end of the month" means that if you tender your resignation on the 1st, your notice period will not start until the end of that month. For example, if you tender your resignation on April 1st, your notice period will only start on May 1st. Conversely, if you tendered your resignation on March 31st (at the latest), your notice period would start running on April 1st.
Your resignation is only effective after your employer receives your personally signed letter. So if you need to mail it, consider those days as well.
● Step 3 – Make an appointment with your HR representative and/or manager
Before submitting your resignation letter, meet with your manager or HR representative. During the conversation, consider the following issues: give notice of the layoff and explain the reason, request a letter of recommendation, and agree on the transfer of your responsibilities.
● Step 4 – Write a resignation letter
According to Section 623 of the German Civil Code, the official step to resign from a job in Germany is to write and send a resignation letter.
The letter should be short and to the point. If your working language is German, the application must be written in German. The document must contain the address of the company in the upper left corner. Also, the date and subject of the letter: Kündigung meines Arbeitsvertrags: cancellation of my employment contract. The letter must specify the exact date when you plan to resign.
Don't forget to ask for a letter of recommendation (Arbeitszeugnis) and leave certificate (Urlaubsbescheinigung) in your resignation letter.
The letter should not be sent by e-mail. Submit it yourself to the HR department or send it by mail, depending on the employer's requirements.
● Step 5 – Check how many vacation days you have left
Be sure to check with HR how many days of paid vacation you have left. You will be able to rest a little before finally resigning from your former job. Also, this time can be used to find a new place of employment.
In certain cases, the employer may allow you to receive cash compensation for unused vacation. This will be a big plus after dismissal.
● Step 6 – Ask for a letter of recommendation
In Germany, it is customary to collect letters of recommendation from previous places of work, because future employers are actively interested in them during interviews. Therefore, be sure to get an Arbeitszeugnis from the company where you worked.
● Step 7 – Delegate your responsibilities to another person
Familiarize yourself with the specifics of the job and introduce the person who will be appointed to your place.
● Step 8 - Spend your last working day
On the last working day, do not forget to bring all the things you need to return to the employer. For example, your laptop and mobile device with charging cables, employee badge, access cards or locker key.
Also, bring a backpack or bag to collect your things from the table. If you have a good relationship with your team, you can even bring cake or sweets on the day or invite them over for a few beers after work.
Is it possible to quit my job in Germany suddenly?
Quick release in Germany is possible only if there are very good reasons. Both the employer and the employee can terminate the employment contract without notice. In Germany, this is called an extraordinary termination. Grounds for sudden dismissal may include: salary delays, workplace safety violations, harassment, insults or bullying.
What to do after dismissal if you do not have a new job?
You do not have a new job, but you want to stay in Germany, then check whether you are entitled to unemployment benefits. If you have worked full-time in Germany for the past 5 years, you can receive unemployment benefits for up to 2 years. Quite often, workers receive 67% of the amount they earned at their previous job. However, if you resigned on your own initiative and without valid reasons, you will not receive assistance during the first 3 months after dismissal. However, as a rule, the job center will cover your health insurance payments during this period.
Germany is widely known for its complex bureaucracy. You may encounter certain difficulties at any stage of dismissal or search for a new job. A highly qualified lawyer will help you understand all the intricacies of German legislation. Order a specialist consultation at the link.
Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:
Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Germany;
Legal advice for business in Germany;
Immigration lawyer services in Germany;
Insurance for foreign students in Germany.
We monitor the accuracy and relevance of our information. Therefore, if you see any error or discrepancy, please write to our hotline.
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