Contents of a notice of termination by the employee

In order for a termination letter to be effective, certain formal requirements must be met, as well as the relevant notice period. It may also be necessary to state a reason for termination in the case of an employee’s notice of termination.

The most important points in brief

  • You do not need a reason for termination for a notice period as an employee.
  • The length of a notice period in accordance with the notice period can vary depending on the length of employment in the company.
  • A notice of termination must always be in writing in paper form – only then is it valid.
  • The time of receipt of the notice of termination is decisive for the calculation of the notice period.

What must be stated in a notice of termination?

  • Reason: In case of an extraordinary termination without notice, you must state the relevant reason.
  • Period of noticeThe date of termination must be specified in the letter.
  • FormThe notice of termination must always be written on paper and signed by the employee’s own hand.
  • ReceiptYou should choose a verifiable method of delivery for the letter of termination.

If you want to terminate the employment relationship, use the initial telephone consultation from KLUGO. Our partner lawyers advise Employer and employee on all legal questions relating to the subject of notice of termination.

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Must my letter of notice necessarily contain a reason?

If you as an employee wish to terminate your employment contract with due notice, you do not need to state a reason for termination in the letter of termination. However, you can also terminate your employment relationship for cause and without notice. In this case, an important reason must exist and also be named.

Important reasons justifying termination without notice by the employee are, for example:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Gross breach of duty by the employer
  • Health hazard
  • Discrimination
  • Persistent mobbing
  • Persistently unpunctual payment of salary
  • Non-payment of salary
  • Irretrievable loss of confidence in the employer

CautionYou, as the employee, must prove that the continuation of the employment relationship is unreasonable.

form of termination according to BGB

The German Civil Code (BGB) regulates various aspects of employment contracts and their termination, including the form of termination. According to § 623 of the German Civil Code (BGB), notices of termination or termination agreements must be issued in writing.

The possibility of termination without notice for good cause arises from Section 626 (1) of the BGB. For this, an individually verifiable unreasonableness must be present.

What deadlines do I have to observe when giving notice??

The ordinary termination with notice can be given at any time. However, the length of the notice period can vary greatly depending on how long you were employed by the company and whether a Legal notice period, a period of notice according to the collective agreement or a term of employment contract applies. In principle, the most individual agreement applies. This means: the period stipulated in the employment contract applies before the period stipulated in the collective agreement applies before the statutory period. However, the individual regulation in your employment contract must not be worse than the regulation in the law.

Termination date stated incorrectly – what now?

Don’t worry – even if you haven’t stated the termination date correctly, the termination is not invalid. The Federal Labor Court has ruled that in this case it must be reinterpreted as a notice of termination "at the next possible date".

ExceptionYou can only terminate a fixed-term employment contract if this is stipulated in the collective agreement or employment contract. The law does not provide for the possibility of ordinary termination of a fixed-term employment contract.

The extraordinary notice of termination without notice must be given within 14 days be declared after noticing the grievances. If, for example, your employer has already been paying unpunctually for half a year, you cannot simply give notice of termination without notice. A warning must first be issued here. If the employer pays late again, you can give notice of termination without notice.

What form must a termination letter have?

A notice of termination must always be in writing in Paper form take place. Neither e-mail nor fax are sufficient here. You can write your notice like a normal letter:

  • Your name with address and date
  • Name and address of your employer
  • Subject line with reference to termination
  • address of the recipient (if unknown, choose "Dear Sir or Madam")
  • Formulation of your notice with termination date
  • greeting and your handwritten signature (obligatory)

How must a termination letter be delivered?

The notice of termination can be submitted in person, sent by mail or delivered by messenger. It is also useful to be able to prove receipt of the notice – for example, through witnesses, a Acknowledgement of receipt or by sending a registered letter with advice of receipt.

The notice shall not be deemed to have been given until it has been received by the employer. The Time of receipt is decisive for calculating the period of notice. The date on the termination letter is irrelevant for compliance with the deadline.

If you are considering terminating your employment contract, you should notify your employer as early as possible in writing and in a verifiable manner.

Deduction of social security contributions for severance payments - infographic

Reasons for termination – infographic

If you have any legal questions regarding the topic of termination, we will be happy to help you within the scope of a Initial consultation more. Our competent partner attorneys for employment law will provide you with legal advice and support you with all your concerns.

You have a legal question?

Then simply take advantage of the KLUGO initial consultation. The initial consultation is a telephone conversation with a certified lawyer from our network.

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