Laws, Dos and Don’ts of the Probation Period (Probezeit)


Employers have the choice whether or not to stipulate a probation period (probezeit) for new employees or not BUT for Tariff and Ausbildung contracts the probation period is always there.




There is no law that stipulates that one has to have a probation period, so for some jobs it’s possible to have none. Probation period usually runs for a maximum of 6months. A longer period is also possible but rarely happens in Germany.


Notice Period (Kündigungsfrist)

During the probation period the employee and employer may hand in or issue a resignation with a notice period of 2 weeks without having to give reasons for it. For Tariff contracts, the notice period may be stipulated individually.

The notice period is stipulated by the law in § 622 Abs. 3 des Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuches (BGB).


Annual Paid Leave

A new employee is entitled to their annual paid leave as soon as they sign their contract BUT they can only take the leave AFTER their probation period. Some employers may allow you to take your leave during the probation period, in that case they calculate 1/12 of the annual leave for every month i.e. 2free days for every full month worked. The paid leave is regulated by the law in the Bundesurlaubsgesetz (§ 4)

Demanding for paid leave before working may cause the employee to fail during their probation time.



  • Use the first week to get to know the colleagues, the work culture and how things work in the office/department
  • Stand your ground, some employees will be looking to use you as their new carpet by giving you all their job to do. Learn how to say no without being offensive
  • Create your network, find out who you can get information from (not gossip), what are the key strengths of different people in your team and how can you use those to do your work faster? Also find out who you shouldn’t have too close to you, who is the nosy one of the group, who is the bootlicker?
  • Use the probation time to get to know the team and work culture and decide whether you want to work there. The probation period is also your time to figure out if this company is where you’d like to spend your days.
  • Talk to the team leader regularly on your progress. This will ensure you find out if there’s anything you need to change before it’s too late.



  • Don’t be the very first to leave work, but also don’t be the very last. Watch and learn what time people come and leave, then match your hours to that. After the probation you can make it more flexible depending on the office rules
  • Don’t start issuing improvement suggestions within the first week
  • Don’t be a boot licker. Don’t tell on your colleagues to try and be in the boss’ good books. Don’t make your colleagues your enemies.
  • Don’t get involved in office politics, you’re the smallest fish in the fish tank thus easier to be kicked out, so watch your steps
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