Notice period as an employee: what to look out for in 2022.

You are tired of your job and want to terminate your employment relationship and your employment contract? When giving notice, employees and employers must follow certain rules so that your notice is legally effective.


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We asked the lawyer Rolf Albrecht, what you need to know about the notice as an employee. This explains the difference between ordinary and extraordinary termination by the employee and what formalities and notice periods you must observe. You will also receive a sample letter of termination, which you can use as a template for your own termination.

Fact check: Terminate employment contract.

1. In writing: The termination of the employment contract must always be in writing (letter of termination).

2. period: The legal period of notice must be observed for the notice of termination.

3. Signature: The letter of termination of your employment must be handwritten signature.

4. Reason: It is not mandatory to give reasons for the notice of termination.

Template for the letter of termination as an employee.

These points must be mentioned in a termination letter:

  • Name and address of both parties to the contract – i.e. your details as well as those of the company
  • Time, i.e. concrete date, from which the termination of your employment relationship is effective in the case of an employment relationship
  • Reference to a written confirmation of the termination – this is also not sufficient by e-mail
  • Your handwritten signature

Although it is not required by law, it is very important that you ask for a qualified reference in the letter of termination, because you need it for your application.

Since there are formal rules for a termination letter, you don’t need to get particularly creative. You can use our sample letter of resignation one-to-one and only have to insert your personal data into the template.


Notice of termination of the employment relationship

Dear Mr./Mrs. [name of contact person],

I hereby terminate my existing employment relationship with you with due notice as of the next possible date. According to my calculation, this is the [termination date].

Please confirm receipt of this notice and the termination date to me in writing.

I ask you to issue me with a qualified job-related reference.

Thank you very much for your cooperation.

Yours sincerely

[Your handwritten signature]

Observe the notice period.

A notice of termination that is given with too short a notice period or is received late by the employer is not invalid, but is only permissible as of the next possible date. The obligation to perform work with continued payment then continues until the next regular date of the notice period.

In concrete terms, this means that if you give 15. of the following month, the notice of termination must be received by the employer at the latest as follows:

  • In the case of a month with 31 days, at the latest on the 18th day. Day of the respective month
  • In the case of a month with 30 days, at the latest on the 17th day of the month. Day of the respective month
  • In February at the latest on 15., or. in leap year on 16. Day of the respective month

If you want to terminate at the end of the month, the notice or the letter of termination must be received by the employer by these days at the latest, applying § 622 BGB:

  • For a month with 31 days on 3. Day of the month in question
  • In case of a month with 30 days on 2. Day of the respective month
  • To the 28. or. 29. February 31. January or. 1. February

Deviating agreements are possible, for example, if longer notice periods are agreed in the employment contract or if a different notice period applies due to regulations in the collective agreement.

Notice period as an employer.

To make sure you’re also aware of how your employer can give you notice in return, here are the legal notice periods for the employer. These are based on the length of your employment with the company. If you have been working for the same employer for a long time, you automatically have a longer notice period and sometimes even receive a severance payment. The statutory notice periods can then be up to seven months.

From 2 years of employment 1 month notice to the end of the calendar month
After 5 years of service 2 months notice to the end of the calendar month
From 8 years of employment 3 months’ notice to the end of the calendar month
From 10 years of service 4 months’ notice to the end of the calendar month
From 12 years of employment 5 months’ notice to the end of the calendar month
From 15 years of service 6 months’ notice to the end of the calendar month
From 20 years of employment 7 months’ notice to the end of the calendar month

Notice period during probationary period

The probationary period is to find out if the new job suits you and vice versa. If you don’t feel comfortable at all in the first few days in your new job, the best thing to do is to quit. During the probationary period, the notice period is usually two weeks – both for you and for your employer. Also, you need to know that the employment relationship can be terminated at any day.

Reasons for termination.

You no longer see challenges in your employment and opportunities for advancement are low? Or your partner* moves to another city and you don’t want a long-distance relationship? Sometimes the most different reasons and lead to the fact that one wants to terminate its employer-employee relationship.

Why employees give notice. Reasons respondents gave for leaving their last employer.

Reason for quitting Percent
Too little pay 39,7
Poor working atmosphere 37,4
Lack of promotion opportunities 34,6
The company culture did not suit me 27,7
Lack of further training opportunities 25,2
Lack of work-life balance 25,1
Lack of job stability 22,3
Lack of meaningfulness of the job 21,7
Too little responsibility 17,9
Work commute 17,2

Difference: Ordinary termination and extraordinary termination as an employee.

The reason for termination determines whether you give notice of termination for cause or for cause. In addition, there is the special case that you can terminate an employment relationship before you have even started it. About these three cases the right expert Rolf Albrecht clears up.

Ordinary notice of termination as an employee.

Ordinary termination by the employee is the most common form of termination. According to labor law, an ordinary termination of your employment can have the following reasons, for example:

  • new job offer
  • Take up studies
  • Move

Extraordinary notice of termination as an employee.

In addition to the ordinary termination, however, there is also the extraordinary termination in labor law.

In the following situations, you can issue an extraordinary termination, i.e. submit a termination without notice:

  • "Prolonged" failure to pay the remuneration agreed in the employment contract (warning required in advance)
  • Insult, threat, assault by employer
  • criminal offences committed by the employer

So if you z. B. is threatened or insulted, you must respond within two weeks and submit the extraordinary dismissal. The employment relationship is then immediately terminated as of the receipt of the notice of termination by the employer.

Resigning as an employee: the right way to resign.

If you want to terminate your employment contract and give notice, you should follow several formalities. We have summarized the most important facts from employment law for you.

submit notice of termination.

In addition to the notice period, according to labor law, it is also important whether and to what extent the notice of termination is proper. In principle, notice of termination must be given in writing (§ 623 BGB). In this case, the electronic form is excluded, d. h. Termination by e-mail is not valid. The ordinary notice of termination does not have to be justified, but the notice of termination must state the termination date. In addition, you must ensure that the notice is properly delivered to the appropriate recipient, because a notice of termination only becomes effective when it was actually received.

If, for example, the company owner and sole HR manager is on summer vacation for three weeks, the notice of termination will only become effective upon his return and knowledge of the termination. It is therefore always advisable to send a notice of termination at least in duplicate and, above all, to check exactly who in the company or business is responsible for the receipt of the notice of termination and, if applicable. There are certain persons who have been designated for this purpose.

5 tips for preparing notice of termination.

Now that you know the legalities of resigning as an employee, here are five more tips on how to prepare your resignation step by step.

Know the employment contractBefore you resign, take a close look at the employment contract of your employer. Then you know which points are to be considered and when a written notice of termination is to be submitted.

Prepare for the interviewOnce your resignation has been received, it won’t take long for your manager to start talking to you. Prepare yourself by giving good reasons without provoking your boss.

Document your stepsThere can always be disputes in employment law. Be prepared and collect all relevant documents regarding your termination in a folder.

Complete projectsSo that you do not lose face in front of your team, you should complete projects or hand them over to other colleagues in the period before and after your termination. You should also leave your workplace cleanly without taking anything with you (caution: theft) as well as say goodbye – either to everyone personally or in a joint round.

Look for a new jobIf you have been dissatisfied with your employment for a long time, you should start looking for a new job before giving notice. It is much easier to resign if you have a new job offer and a good reason to resign from your employment contract is also.

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Termination by the employer.

But not only you can terminate, but also you can be terminated by your employer for various reasons. Again, he must comply with the legal formalities as described above. Your employer can dismiss you from your employment for the following reasons:

Person-related dismissal.

Termination for personal reasons is legal if you are no longer able to perform your work and the reasons for this lie in your person.

A person-related reason for termination is often illness of the employee. If it is certain that you are permanently ill and therefore unable to perform the required work, the dismissal is justified. It is obvious to everyone that a blind bus driver can no longer do his job.

However, it becomes more critical if it is not entirely clear from a medical point of view whether you will recover. Then it depends on the prognosis at the time of the dismissal. If you are incapacitated for work for at least 24 months, then a termination of an employment relationship due to illness is in order. If it is not foreseeable when you will be able to work again, the employer may, according to labor law, also issue a notice of termination – the situation is treated as a permanent incapacity to work that can be assumed with certainty.

A person-related dismissal in the case of frequent short illnesses is also possible. It depends on whether, at the time of the termination, facts justify the assumption that frequent short-term illnesses must also be expected in the future.

However, according to labor law, these frequent short absences must also cause a significant impairment of operational interests. Ultimately, the individual case must always be considered and, in case of doubt, a medical opinion must be obtained if your employment contract is to be terminated for this reason.

Behavioral dismissal.

A behavior-related dismissal requires that you violate your contractual obligations through your behavior. As a rule, this involves cases of repeated unexcused absences or employees who are found in the pub in the evening, for example, despite being on sick leave.

! Important

Before issuing the notice of termination, the employer must consider whether the employee’s misconduct can be remedied by issuing a warning.

If, for example, you are regularly absent from the office on Monday mornings without being excused, your employer can first give you the chance to change this behavior by issuing a warning. If the pattern emerges that your employer warns you several times for the same behavior without giving notice, you can assume at some point that he does not find the behavior particularly disturbing. If a dismissal follows only after the same behavior has been warned three or even four times, then the seriousness of this can certainly be called into question.

If it is clear from the outset that you will not change your behavior, your employer does not need to give you a warning, but can immediately give notice or send you a letter of termination.

Termination for operational reasons.

Termination for operational reasons means that you are being dismissed because your job has been eliminated as a result of restructuring within the company. If there are several jobs with the same profile, the employer must make a social selection. This is intended to ensure that the employee who is socially least worthy of protection is dismissed.

The Dismissal Protection Act (KSchG) lists in § 1 paragraph 3 the parameters on the basis of which the selection takes place: Length of service, age, maintenance obligations and severe disability. It is often the case that young employees in particular are affected by the social selection process.

Those who do not want to counteract this by quickly founding a large family still have a chance: to make themselves irreplaceable in the company through special knowledge or achievements in order to achieve not being dismissed. §1 paragraph 3 sentence 2 KSchG provides that such employees are not included in the social selection. If you are, for example, the only one in the company who can operate a certain software, this should keep you out of the social selection, so that your employment relationship remains in place.

According to labor law, your employer is obligated to check whether he can continue to employ you in another position before giving notice of termination. If there is a works council in your company, your employer must inform it of the planned dismissal from your employment relationship.

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