Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB)
For individual dismissals, the Civil Code specifies the period of minimum notice to be given by the employer. The minimum notice given to all employees is:
- four weeks for less than two years of employment;
- one month for employment between 2–4 years;
- two months for employment between 5–7 years;
- three months for employment between 8–9 years;
- four months for employment between 10–11 years;
- five months for employment between 12–14 years;
- six months for employment between 15–19 years;
- seven months for service of more or equal to 20 years.
The notice period of employees working in establishments with no more than 20 workers can be four weeks independent of the duration of their employment if this notice period is agreed in the individual employment contract.
The notice period can be shorter than four weeks in case of auxiliary employment. In case of a probation period of six month the notice period is two weeks.
Employment relationships of blue-collar and white-collar workers can be terminated on the 15th or last day of each month, with a notice period of four weeks.
The regulation does not apply to workers on fixed-term contracts unless the notification period is specified in the individual contract or in a collective agreement applied by the employer.
These legal provisions apply only by default where there is no collective agreement. The length of notice periods laid down in collective agreements ranges from one week (before the weekend) for newly hired workers (in construction in general and, in some regions, in the metal and private transport industries) to six months before the end of a quarter (in the public service sector).