Are you quitting your job in Germany? Then you must write a resignation letter to make your leave official. But what should it look like, and what should be included?
Furthermore, when do you need to submit a letter of resignation? All these and more questions we are answering in this article.
German labor laws oblige employees and employers to write a resignation letter. We have prepared a sample of the resignation letter for Germany in English and German languages. So you can simply copy and paste or download it for further editing.
Standard format of resignation letter in Germany
Here’s information on writing a resignation letter, along with samples and templates to use to write your own letter.
Must have elements in a German resignation letter
Your resignation letter must include the following information:
- Your and employer’s details and address
- Your staff number (if you have such)
- The current date
- Address the recipient as “Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren” or “Sehr geehrter Herr xy” bzw “Sehr geehrte Frau xy”.
- The notice period
- Handwritten signature
Sample of the resignation letter in English
Termination of employment as of DD.MM.YYYY
Dear Mr./Ms. (your supervisor’s last name),
I hereby inform you about my resignation from (Company’s name) as a (current position), effective DD.MM.YYYY. My last working day will be on DD.MM.YYYY and is in compliance with the notice period of 4 weeks. Please confirm the receipt of the notice of termination and the termination date of the employment contract in written form.
In addition, I would like to request a qualified reference, which you can send to me at the address above.
I would like to thank you for the many years of good cooperation.
Dear Mr./Ms. (your supervisor’s last name),
I hereby give notice that I wish to terminate the existing employment contract from date XXXX. My last day of employment will be XXXX.
Please confirm this termination letter.
Sample of the resignation letter in German
Kündigung des Arbeitsverhältnisses zum TT.MM.JJJJ
Sehr geehrter Herr/Frau (your supervisor’s last name),
hiermit kündige ich das mit Ihnen bzw. der Beispielfirma GmbH bestehende Arbeitsverhältnis vom TT.MM.JJJJ unter Einhaltung der Kündigungsfrist zum TT.MM.JJJJ. Bestätigen Sie mir bitte den Erhalt der Kündigung und das Aufhebungsdatum des Arbeitsvertrags in schriftlicher Form.
Außerdem bitte ich um ein qualifiziertes Arbeitszeugnis, welches Sie mir an die oben genannte Adresse zukommen lassen können.
Ich bedanke mich für die jahrelange gute Zusammenarbeit mit Ihnen. Aus der Beschäftigung in Ihrem Unternehmen konnte ich auf fachlicher wie auch auf persönlicher Ebene viel für meine berufliche Zukunft mitnehmen. Dafür bedanke ich mich und wünsche Ihnen und dem Unternehmen für den weiteren Werdegang alles Gute.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
You can also download a sample of the German resignation letter and just insert your details.
Take care of your finances before quitting
How to Write a Resignation Letter?
Quitting a job is never a pleasant process, and neither it’s easy, especially in Germany, where you need to follow strict rules.
The resignation letter is a must-have when quitting a job at a German company. Without this paper, your termination won’t be valid.
Verbal notice of termination isn’t sufficient in that case. The letter must be in written form. You should print it out and sign by hand.
In general, you can form the letter how you want.
You don’t need to state a reason for leaving unless it’s a termination without notice. Also, the employer doesn’t have to confirm that he has received the letter, but you can ask for it to be on the safe side.
When it comes to language, you should write it in the language you use at work.
The general rule: the shorter, the better. There is no need to provide a long-winded explanation of why you are quitting.
Instead, it’s best to be direct and professional, and outline any important information about the resignation.
Here are some helpful tips for writing your resignation letter:
Be direct and to the point – mention that you are quitting in the first paragraph (or in the first sentence).
Be professional – don’t use it as an opportunity to complain, insult, or criticize the company or your colleagues.
State your last day – provide the specific date you agree to work until.
Provide information about the transition – you may offer your help to make a transition easier or agree to finish certain projects and tasks before your last day.
Proofread and spell check – make sure to read your letter carefully before you submit it.
Seek legal advice – if there are any unique circumstances why you are leaving the job or complications, you may wish to seek professional legal advice. Yet, it’s better to take out legal insurance before you face any issues at work.
Ask for the employment certificate (Arbeitszeugniss)
When you leave your job in Germany, it’s essential to request a job certificate or Arbeitszeugnis. As an employee, you have a right to receive this paper along with a reference from your employer.
You can request your Arbeitszeugnis in the resignation letter. Add the sentence below to ask for an Arbeitszeugnis.
Ich bitte Sie, mir ein qualifiziertes berufsförderndes Arbeitszeugnis auszustellen. Bitte schicken Sie mir das zusammen mit meinen Arbeitspapieren an meine Adresse.
What is Arbeitszeugnis?
An Arbeitszeugnis is an employer’s reference or an assessment of the employee’s work performance and, at the same time, proof that you worked at that company in that position.
Arbeitszeugnis is very helpful for new job applications.
What to avoid in your resignation letter
Some topics should be avoided when addressing a resignation letter in Germany:
- You don’t need to explain why you are leaving
- Don’t talk about the downsides of the job, your coworkers, or the company
- Don’t brag about what are your future plans
- Don’t submit a letter with no proofreading, which might also include spelling errors
- Don’t write more than one page
Keep the tone positive and professional, and your resignation letter can’t work against you at any point in the future.
How to quit a job in Germany?
Here are essential steps you need to take when resigning from the job in Germany:
- Check your employment contract and individual notice period
- Write and prepare the resignation letter
- Make 2 prints of your termination letter and sign both
- Tell your supervisor you want to quit + hand over your termination letter
- Comply with the notice period
- Do the transition process
- Check if you can apply for unemployment benefits/get job insurance
- Check your unused vacation days
- Get a certificate of employment (Arbeitszeugnis)
Learn more about unemployment benefits when terminating your job in Germany.
Read more about quitting a job in Germany in the dedicated article.
Avoid problems with your employer
Useful terminology when resigning from the job in Germany
The termination date isn’t a day when your boss has been informed about you leaving the job. Yet, the termination date is the date when you end your work. Hence, this date is after the notice period and is your actual last day of work.
Whereas in some countries an official notice period doesn’t exist, in Germany, you need to keep at work at least four weeks more after quitting the job.
You should take a look at your employment contract first before you write your termination letter. There you can see the notice period you must observe.
The notice period is the time between acceptance of the notice of termination, i.e., the day on which the company officially receives your resignation letter and the final termination of the employment relationship.
The length of the notice period depends on how long you have been working in Germany. In the table below, you can see which one will apply to your situation.
Otherwise, a different notice period can be agreed upon between employee & employer and will be written in the contract.
How long is the notice period in Germany?
|Years in the company
|More than 20 years
Shorter notice periods are only permitted for temporary employees (max. three months’ employment) and companies with no more than 20 employees.
Also, during the probationary period, only between two and four weeks apply.
During the notice period, the employment relationship continues as usual. The employer must continue to pay the wage.
Deadlines for job termination in Germany
When you terminate your job in Germany, you should give notice either on the 15th or the last day of the month.
Meaning if you want to leave the job on June 30, your employer must receive a termination letter at least 28 days in advance, i.e., on June 2. For months with 31 days, the notice must always be received on the 3rd of the month.
What will happen with your health insurance after you quit your job? Read this article.
How to submit your resignation letter?
You can submit the resignation letter in person or send it via post. Do it as early as possible if you want to send it by mail (it will be valid only after your boss receives it).
The first printout is the official version for your supervisor or employer.
The second printout is optional. You can ask the employer to sign and keep it for yourself.
If you have submitted the resignation letter later than the official deadline, your employer might let you work for one more month. So, be on time.
Do you need to get a confirmation for the employer?
Officially, your employer isn’t obligated to inform you whether he has received a notice or not. However, you can ask for it in the resignation letter. Then he must do so. That way, you can be 100% sure.
Example: Please confirm this termination letter.
Or in German:
- Bestätigen Sie mir bitte den Erhalt und das Aufhebungsdatum dieser Kündigung in schriftlicher Form.“
- „Bitte bestätigen Sie mir den Erhalt der Kündigung und das Kündigungsdatum des Arbeitsverhältnisses schriftlich.“
Once the employer receives the resignation letter, you will receive the resignation confirmation (Kündigung Empfangsbestätigung).
When is your resignation valid?
It’s good to know from what time your termination is valid and the notice period starts. In Germany, the notice period begins when the employer receives the resignation letter.
It can be done through conversation or when they receive a written letter.
When does the notice period start?
The notice period starts after you have submitted a resignation letter AND the employer has actually received it in written form. It’s a period between the termination (given verbally or received in writing) and the termination date.