Period of notice to terminate an employment contract in Germany

Employee

 The employer or employee may terminate at the end of a calendar month (or on the 15th). The period of notice is then four weeks.

Example:

Employee announces the termination on March 26, 2018.

The end of a calendar month is on March 31, 2018.

He leaves on April 30, 2018.

In his letter of dismissal of March 26, 2018 it must be written that his last day is on April 30, 2018.

Employer

The same periods of notice apply to the employer. The period of notice depends on the duration of the working relationship:

Duration of

 the working relationship

Period of Notice
2 Years 1 Month
5 Years 2 Months*
8 Years 3 Months *
10 Years 4 Months
12 Years 5 Months
15 Years 6 Months
20 Years 7 Months

* at the end of a calendar month

The longer the employment relationship, the longer is the relative termination period of notice.The duration of the employment contract is only calculated from the 25th birthday of the employee. Before that, the four-weeks deadline applies. In this case as well, tariff-contractual regulations or agreements of the employment contract apply before this legal regulation. 

Difference between “four weeks” and “one month” 

One month is longer than four weeks (4 x 7 days = 28 days). The employee can still leave on the beginning of the month or at the end of the month. However, if the period of notice is one month, he should present the termination letter a month before. 

Example:In the 30-day month = Present your termination letter at the latest on the 2nd.In the 31st month = Present your termination letter at the latest on the 3nd.

Shorter periods of notice The term of notice may be agreed in less than four weeks in the following cases:• For a maximum period of three months in a temporary job (Aushilfstätigkeit)• For a probationary period of maximum six months, then a notice period of two weeks applies• The employer has less than 10 employees(Trainees count 0, 20 hours/week-employees’ count 1/2 and up to 30 hours/week-employees´ count 3/4)

Special Provision in German labour law:

Severely Disable Persons

A notice period of at least four weeks applies to severely handicapped persons. The termination is only valid with a timely request for approval by the Integration Office.T he severely disable person can be dismissed with the shorter statutory deadlines.

Insolvency Proceedings

In the event of bankrupt, if the insolvency administrator fires the employee of a debtor, or if the employee quits his/her job in an insolvent company, the period of notice varies between three and one months. To the extent that statutory or contractual provisions provide for a shorter deadline, the shorter deadline applies.

Home-workers

Home-workers can be fired/ can quit at any time. If the employment relationship lasts longer than 4 weeks and the home-worker works for a client, the notice period is extended to two weeks.