Probationary period

Probationary period - Probezeit

March 04, 2021

In everyday language, when we talk about a probationary period, we are referring to the simplified possibility of terminating an employment relationship by either the employer or the employee by giving notice during the first six months of the employment relationship. Basically, a distinction must be made: There is the probationary period contractually agreed in the respective employment contract, which according to section 622 (3) of the German Civil Code (BGB) may not exceed six months. During this period, the employment relationship can be terminated by either party with two weeks' notice. Less well known is the so-called waiting period under section 1(1) of the Protection Against Dismissal Act (KSchG), according to which the KSchG is only applicable if the employment relationship has existed for six months. In practice, it also happens that initially a fixed-term employment relationship is concluded. The employment relationship then ends automatically without the need for notice and can then be extended or can be detached form a certain period by concluding another contract.

Terminations during the probationary period

In the first six months, the parties to the employment relationship may give notice of termination at any time. Factual reasons according to section 1 KSchG do not have to exist or be named. It should be noted that protection against dismissal may still apply, e.g. if the employee is pregnant. There are also rules that employers must follow during the probationary period. Extraordinary dismissals and dismissals without notice cannot be given without further notice. Even during the probationary period, the requirements of section 626 BGB regarding extraordinary dismissals or dismissals without notice must always be met, i.e. there must be an important reason.