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Ending employment

Probationary period

During the probationary period, an employment contract may be terminated by the employer or by the employee at any time without giving reasons. If the parties stipulate a probationary period, it must not exceed one month (apprenticeship: three months).

Termination of a fixed-term contract

Employment ends automatically when the term of the contract has expired.

Termination by mutual consent

When an employee and an employer end an employment relationship by mutual consent, no period of notice is required. It may be terminated verbally or in writing. Written termination is recommended.

Unilateral termination

Notice can be given verbally, in writing or implicitly (handover of employment papers). No reason for termination need be given.

Periods of notice and deadlines in the event of termination by the employer:

  • for white-collar workers: at least six weeks (to the end of the calendar quarter unless otherwise specified in employment contracts and collective agreements);
  • for blue-collar workers: two weeks; longer periods of notice are usually stipulated in collective agreements and works agreements.

Periods of notice and deadlines in the event of termination by the employee:

  • for white-collar workers: one month (to the last day of the month);
  • for blue-collar workers: two weeks, unless agreed otherwise. Notice may be given in writing; no reasons need be given.


Dismissal terminates an employment relationship with immediate effect. There must be a reason for dismissal (e.g. persistent neglect of duties). Dismissal may be effected verbally, in writing or implicitly. An unjustified dismissal also terminates an employment relationship with immediate effect; you have the possibility to complain to the labour and social security court.


Resignation by the employee also terminates a relationship of employment with immediate effect. This option is open to employees, for example in the case of gross neglect of duty by an employer.

Please note:
When an employment relationship is terminated, an employee is entitled to receive his/her employment papers and payment of outstanding monies.

Employment papers are:
- salary statement
- certificate of employment
- deregistration from the health insurance fund
- confirmation of work and remuneration
- pay slip (L16)
- testimonial

Further information can be obtained from the works council, Chamber of Labour, or trade union.

Part-time employment in old age (Altersteilzeit)

This offers older employees the possibility of reducing their working time by up to 60% without loss of pension entitlement. The Employment Service (AMS) provides up to 80% of the employee’s previous income. The minimum age for part-time employment in old age is 53.5 years for women and 58.5 years for men (2011).

Old Age Pension

Persons born before 1 January 1955:
Women can retire at 60, men at 65. Entitlements built up must represent one of the following conditions:

  • 180 insurance months within the last 360 calendar months or
  • 180 contribution months (e.g. by back-purchases of entitlements for school and study periods or
  • 300 insurance months

Persons born on or after 1 January 1955:
Women may retire at age 60 (until 2024) or at age 65 (from 2033), and men at age 65. Beside the three mentioned options this group may retire when they have accumulated 180 insurance months from 1.1.2005 (or previous periods bringing up children), of which at least 84 months must have been in employment.

Termination of employment on grounds of invalidity

There are different rules for white collar workers, manual workers and self-employed persons related to age and circumstances. The term used for invalidity differs depending on the employment category: Berufsunfähigkeit for white-collar workers; Invalidität for blue-collar workers; Erwerbsunfähigkeit for self-employed persons.

Further information and useful links


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