Notice Periods - a Definition
Notice periods determine the period that must elapse between the declaration of termination and the actual termination of the employment relationship. They are binding for both employers and employees and are intended to enable reasonable planning. The exact regulations can be found in Sections 622 and 623 of the German Civil Code (BGB). Notice periods are closely linked to the total employment duration.
Notice Periods for Employees
In general, the longer the employment duration, the longer the notice periods. However, these periods can be adjusted in collective bargaining agreements, work agreements, or the employment contract. It is essential to note that deviations must not work to the disadvantage of employees!
According to Section 622 BGB, the following periods apply:
- Probationary period: Two weeks to the 15th or end of the month.
- After the probationary period up to two years: Four weeks to the 15th or end of the month.
- After two years: Four weeks to the end of the month.
- After five years: Eight weeks to the end of a calendar month.
- After eight years: Three months to the end of a calendar month.
- After ten years: Four months to the end of a calendar month.
- After fifteen years: Six months to the end of a calendar month.
- After twenty years: Seven months to the end of a calendar month.
Important: When referring to the duration of one month, this translates to exactly 28 days!
Other Notice Periods
For executive employees, deviating notice periods can be agreed upon in the employment contract. Section 622 (5) BGB regulates the specific provisions. Collective bargaining agreements may also contain individual regulations.
Termination of the Employment Contract – What to Consider?
The termination of the employment contract is always a unilateral declaration of intent. Unlike a termination agreement or an amendment contract, it is legally effective even without the consent of the contracting party. However, it is necessary to comply with certain specifications, rules, and limits from labor law.
Termination protection is intended to protect employees from unlawful terminations. Pregnant women, severely disabled individuals, or works council members, for example, enjoy special termination protection. A termination must always be socially justified.
Why Notice Periods Should Always Be Adhered To
Adhering to statutory notice periods is crucial to avoid legal conflicts. If an employer violates the specified deadlines, it can lead to an unlawful termination. In such cases, the terminated employee has the right to file a protection against dismissal lawsuit and potentially assert damage claims.
Adhering to notice periods not only creates legal certainty but also promotes a good working atmosphere and work morale. Clear communication about the termination process and compliance with the deadlines signal respect towards employees and foster a trusting work environment.
It is important to review the individual regulations in the employment contract, as deviations are possible. In case of doubt, employees should seek legal advice in a timely manner to safeguard their rights.