Labour law

Employment contract

In a German employment contract some information must be included as standard:

  • Name and address of the company
  • Name and address of the employee
  • Start (and possibly end) of the employment relationship
  • Probationary period and its duration
  • Notice period
  • Place of work
  • Working hours
  • Number of days of leave
  • Amount of wages/salary

It is common for other aspects, e.g. confidentiality obligations or special benefits, to be regulated in the contract. In most employment contracts, a probationary period of six months is agreed. This is the maximum probationary period.

Collective agreements

In addition to individual employment contracts, there are also various collective agreements in Germany. Unlike in the Netherlands, however, these automatically apply to all companies and employees in a sector.

Whether a collective agreement applies depends on whether the company and employees are covered by the agreement. A collective agreement can also be concluded with individual companies (in-house collective agreement). In special cases the state (federal or provincial) can declare a collective agreement to be universally applicable. Only then is it binding for a whole industry. In practice, many companies apply these agreements to all their employees.

By the way: In collective agreements, the number of employees is higher than legally required for most employees.


Wages are determined by collective agreements or individual employment contracts. More information on this .

The statutory minimum wage for everyone aged 18 and over will be raised in a tiered manner:

From 1 January 2021: EUR 9.50
from 1 July 2021: EUR 9.60
from 1 January 2022: EUR 9.82
from 1 July 2022: EUR 10.45

Sick note

In case of illness, employees must immediately inform their employer that they are sick and for how long.

If you do not report your illness/incapacity for work correctly, this can have serious consequences, up to and including dismissal without notice! You can find out more about the procedure for reporting sick here.

Parental leave

During parental leave (similar to Ouderschapsverlof), parents can be released from work without being paid a salary. However, the employment relationship remains in force. This period lasts until the child turns three.

For more information on parental leave and parental allowance, see .

Notice period

Normally, an employment relationship has a probationary period of six months. Here, in most cases, a shorter notice period of 14 days applies. Unless otherwise stipulated in the employment contract, the employment contract can be terminated by the employee with a notice period of four weeks to the 15th of the month or to the end of the month. A statement of the reason(s) for termination is not necessary.

Employers must observe longer statutory notice periods. These depend on the duration of the employment relationship.

Duration of employment relationship Notice period
0 – 2 years old 1 month
2 – 5 years old 2 months up to the end of the calendar month
5 – 8 years old 3 months up to the end of the calendar month
8 – 10 years old 4 months up to the end of the calendar month
10 – 12 years old 5 months up to the end of the calendar month
12 – 20 years old 6 months up to the end of the calendar month
From 20 years 7 months up to the end of the calendar month#

Notice of termination must be given in writing. It does not have to be sent by registered mail, but can also be handed over personally. In any case, it is advisable to have the delivery confirmed. If you want to take legal action against a dismissal (action for protection against dismissal), you must do so within the first three weeks after receiving the dismissal.

Special protection against dismissal applies to some groups of people

People with disabilities can only be dismissed with consent.

Protection against dismissal for pregnant women begins on the first day of
pregnancy and lasts until four months after the birth. In addition, it is forbidden for pregnant women to work in the period six weeks before the presumed birth and eight weeks after the
actual birth.

You can find more information and special regulations in the area .

Labour unions

Many Dutch labour unions work together with the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB). This means: As a member of a cooperating Dutch labour union, you can be legally represented in Germany by the DGB legal protection. Check with your labour union to see if this applies to you.

You can also join a German labour union.