3 important steps to take after losing your job in Germany

3 important steps to take after losing your job in Germany

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Have you lost your job recently or do you know somebody who has? Berlin-based legal-tech startup CONNY gives some advice on how to best react in this challenging situation. 

The current situation - amid a lengthening lockdown and a looming economic crisis - is not only challenging for individuals, but also for many companies. Slowing demand and the shutdown of many sectors of the economy has, unfortunately, forced many firms to lay off some of their staff members. 

Luckily, Germany has strong labour laws in place which are designed to protect employees in these kinds of situations. If you or someone you know has recently lost their job, here is what you should bear in mind.

1. Take action as soon as possible

Losing your job is devastating - there’s no doubt about that - especially when it comes as something of a surprise. However, it is vitally important that you take action soon. From the day you receive your written termination, German labour law only grants you three weeks to file a so-called “Kündigungsschutzklage” (dismissal protection suit). 

The dismissal protection suit applies to all employees who: 

  • Have passed their probationary period (usually six months); and
  • Work in a company that regularly employs more than 10 employees

You can either file the dismissal protection suit yourself, hire a lawyer, or make use of an online solution from a legal-tech startup. In general, the dismissal protection suit aims to have you reinstated in your role. However, in reality, in the vast majority of cases, both parties agree on a severance pay package. 

Severance pay can be as much as your monthly gross salary multiplied by the number of years you worked for the company. If you have only been employed for a short period of time, it can be even higher. 

2. Register as a job seeker with the employment agency

Germans are not renowned for being the most empathic of people - something which is clearly demonstrated by the time pressure German institutions put on you after losing your job. 

As is the case with the filing of the dismissal protection suit, you also have a set window of time in which you must register as unemployed with the “Agentur für Arbeit” (employment agency). German “Pünktlichkeit” at its best! 

You must register no later than three months before your notice period ends. If your notice period is fewer than three months, you only have three working days to register after receiving your termination letter. 

If you do not stick to this deadline, you will lose out on at least one week of unemployment benefits.  

You can register as a jobseeker in the following ways:

  • By calling the free number +49 800 4 555 500 
  • Via the employment agency’s website
  • In person, at your local office (not currently recommended!) 

3. Use your severance pay to take some time off

Your parents and probably even some of your friends will tell you that you need to get straight back out there and find a new job immediately. But losing your job is a stressful, upsetting situation, and there’s no shame in taking some time out first. It might be a while before you feel ready to start sending off some new applications. Don’t beat yourself up about it. 

Take your well-deserved (and hopefully generous) severance pay and take some time off. Kick back and relax. Do something you've always wanted to do. Forget about work for a while - while you’ve got a bit of money to support yourself - and when you’re ready to get back on your feet, there will always be good jobs for highly-qualified people like yourself in Germany. 

If you need help to take action against your termination or need more information, CONNY will support you! Easy, online and with plenty of expertise.  

Simon Moser


Simon Moser

After living in Latin-America and London for several years, Simon moved back to Berlin 3 years ago. Apart from his work in tech-startups he has a soft spot for any...

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