April 11, 2021

Self-resignation: information & tips for employees

A job does not always turn out to be the dream job that you thought it was when you applied. Sometimes a better offer simply comes along. Before you can accept it, you have to quit your old job. If the termination comes from the employee, it is a self-termination. What should you watch out for? What are the deadlines? And does resignation endanger the right to unemployment benefits? Here you can find out everything you need to know about resigning yourself.

Self-termination can have many reasons

Those who enter into employment usually intend to work for their employer for a longer period of time. However, there is hardly any employment relationship created for eternity. In principle, it can be terminated by both contracting parties: the employer and the employee.

From the point of view of employees, there can be various reasons for this step. People often resign themselves when employees have been unsatisfied for a long time – with their tasks, the working atmosphere, or the opportunities for advancement. Sometimes there are problems with the boss, and the general conditions of a job can also trigger the desire for a professional change. This is particularly the case with shift work, very early, late or inflexible working hours, but also with activities that are harmful to health.

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Sometimes it is not the old job at all when it comes to resignation. The employee wants to orientate himself differently for private reasons – for example, because he wants to do something completely different again, he is planning to move to another city or wants to look after children or relatives. In other cases, the employee has simply been presented with a more attractive job offer. Resignation due to illness also happens again and again.

You should bear this in mind when you resign yourself

If you quit your job, you have to observe certain guidelines. Otherwise, it could happen to you that your termination will be ineffective – and you will not be able to quit the job at the scheduled time. In the case of self-termination, you cannot terminate at any point in time but must observe the applicable notice period.

If there are no other regulations, the notice period for employees is four weeks. You can cancel at the end of the month, but also on the 15th of the month. Your employment contract or collective bargaining agreements may result in other deadlines for self-resignation. If the notice period is a problem for you – perhaps because your new employer wants you to start earlier – you can try to speak to your employer. You may be able to agree on a shorter notice period. This usually requires a termination agreement.

During the probationary period, you can quit your job at short notice. The provisions of the Dismissal Protection Act do not yet apply during the first six months of service. A shortened notice period of two weeks applies. If you cancel yourself during the trial period, you do not have to cancel by the 15th or the end of the month, you can cancel on any date.

Formal requirements for an effective self-termination

In contrast to a termination by the employer, employees do not have to justify why they want to terminate their employment relationship. As with any termination, as an employee, you have to adhere to certain formal requirements for your termination to take effect.

Notice of termination must always be made in writing. Oral termination is ineffective, as is termination by phone or SMS. To meet the notice period, it is crucial when the notice of termination reaches your employer. If you do not hand them over personally, be sure to send them off in good time. To be on the safe side in the event of possible disputes, it can make sense to send the notice of termination by registered mail. If you hand them over personally, have the receipt confirmed in writing.

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In terms of content, it must be clear from your cancellation that you are canceling. You must also state the desired time of departure in the letter of termination. You also have to personally sign your cancellation.

When is it possible to terminate without notice?

In some cases, as an employee, you can give extraordinary notice without notice. However, you need a good reason for this – that you are dissatisfied or want to start your new job earlier is not enough for a termination without notice. The circumstances must be so severe that you cannot reasonably be expected to quit your job with the regular notice period.

This can be the case, for example, if you have not received your salary or only partially received it despite repeated requests. Sexual harassment, violence, or bullying can also justify termination without notice. The same applies to requests for criminal acts or a breach of the duty of care by the employer. If you are exposed to serious dangers during your work due to negligence on the part of your employer, this can also be a sufficient reason to resign yourself without notice.

Sometimes you are also entitled to a severance payment after a legal resignation. This can be the case if your employer has grossly violated their duties. If, on the other hand, your termination without notice was not well-founded, your employer may sue you for damages. A corresponding contractual penalty is often already regulated in the employment contract. To avoid legal disputes, it can make sense to consult a lawyer before resigning without notice.

Is there a threat of a blocking period in unemployment benefits if you resign yourself?

For employees, resigning themselves carries a certain risk. If you have not yet found a job after you quit, you face a blocking period for unemployment benefits if you resign yourself. If you resigned yourself, from the point of view of the employment office, you played a decisive role in ensuring that you are subsequently unemployed. Normally the employment office imposes a blocking period of twelve weeks in the event of self-resignation. This reduces the duration of unemployment benefit I receipt – so you don’t just get the money later, you don’t get it at all. This can become a problem if you don’t have enough financial reserves to pay rent, groceries, and the like.

Whether the employment office will sanction self-resignation with a lock on unemployment benefits depends on the circumstances that led to the resignation. If you can provide good reasons for this step, the office can reduce the blocking period or waive it altogether. Not only professional but also private issues can be rated as an important reason.

For example, if you have been insulted by your boss, you haven’t received your wages for a long time, or you are moving to another city with your partner, the employment office will probably waive a blocking period for unemployment benefits. You must also be able to prove that you have tried everything to avoid the dismissal – for example talking to the employer in the event of conflicts at work.

Frequently asked questions about self-termination

Some questions come up a lot when it comes to resigning yourself. In this section, you will find answers and tips on how to proceed in certain cases.

Self-termination during short-time work: What should be considered?

The topic of short-time work has become particularly important. Many employers have put employees on short-time work to avoid layoffs. The short-time work allowance, which is paid by the state, is often topped up by companies. What about the entitlement to short-time work allowance in the event of self-resignation? In principle, under the usual conditions, you can of course also quit your job during a phase of short-time work.

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However, self-resignation during short-time work has a clear disadvantage: The entitlement to short-time work allowance no longer exists from the time of termination. This also applies in the event of termination by the employer. A termination agreement is not a solution either, because here, too, the following applies: once the contract has been concluded, the entitlement to short-time allowance expires. Those affected no longer receive short-time work benefits during the notice period. From the time the notice of termination is given, the usual contractual provisions apply, which can mean that you are entitled to your full salary again. However, it depends on the circumstances in the individual case and the legality of the agreement on short-time work.

Is it possible to give notice of self-termination for temporary jobs?

Normally, fixed-term positions can be terminated prematurely, neither by the employer nor by the employee. Only if there is a good reason for extraordinary termination, you can get out of the employment relationship prematurely. As an alternative to termination, you can try to reach an agreement with your employer to conclude a termination agreement. The end date can be set flexibly in it.

Self-termination while receiving sick pay: Does that make sense?

Anyone who has been on sick leave for more than six weeks is entitled to sick pay from this point on. What happens if employees quit their job during this period? In the case of self-termination, while receiving sickness benefit, the time of termination is just as important as the day on which the entitlement to sickness benefit arises.

For example, suppose an employee was on sick leave on January 1st due to a herniated disc until April 1st. In the meantime, he is quitting his job on March 31st. In this case, however, he is still entitled to sick pay for the duration of his sick leave. This always applies if an employee had a job subject to compulsory insurance on the day on which the entitlement to sickness benefit arose.

If the certificate of incapacity for work arrives on the last day of the employment relationship, this is a special case. Normally, entitlement to sickness benefit would only exist from the next day – and thus at a point in time when the person concerned is no longer working. According to a ruling by the Federal Social Court in May 2012, the entitlement to sickness benefits remains if there is no day between the end of the employment relationship and the beginning of the entitlement to sickness benefits without a certificate of incapacity for work.

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