What to do When you Lose your Job as an Expat in Germany

Losing your job as an expat can be devastating. But we’ve got you covered.


In fact, one expert study ranks losing a job 7th on a list of the most stressful life situations. In such a predicament, it is normal to feel all kinds of emotions: anger, frustration, lowered self-esteem and confusion.


Now imagine losing your job in a foreign country. Pretty daunting, right? Feeling all these mixed emotions in a foreign land with barely any knowledge of how to handle the situation. It is, however, important to understand that job loss is a common occurrence, and it can happen to anyone at any time. How you pick yourself from the situation is what matters the most.


As an expat in Germany, several steps must be taken to ensure you stay afloat until your next employment. This comprehensive guide will discuss everything you need to know about what to do when you lose your job as an expat in Germany.


1. Take a Deep Breath, You Got This!


One of the most often overlooked steps to managing a job loss is to stop worrying. While this may sound nearly impossible, it is important to take a minute to acknowledge the situation and grieve for a bit, but don’t dwell on it too much and dust yourself up for the next move.


The idea of being unemployed and dealing with all the German bureaucracy required to get listed as an expat job seeker can be quite overwhelming, no doubt. But consider the unemployment period as a time to reflect on the lessons gained from your previous employment. What worked for you, and what didn’t? What are your priorities and expectations for your next job? These perspectives will give you a sense of calmness and get you ready for your next move.


2. File for Dismissal Protection Suit


While going through the confusion period after your employment termination, you should remember that the country has strict rules against unlawful termination. If you believe your termination was unlawful, then the German government gives you a chance to claim severance pay from your employer. The German labour laws allow you up to 3 weeks from receiving your notice to file for the Dismissal Protection Suit (Kündigungsschutzklage). It is, therefore, paramount that you act fast to ensure your lawsuit is within the required timeline.


• Who is Eligible for the Dismissal Protection Suit?


– All expat employees who have been employed beyond their probationary period, which is usually six months.

– The company you worked for must have had over ten employees.


• How Much Money Am I Likely to Get from the Lawsuit?


You are eligible for a significant amount of money that could give you the much-needed time and space to get yourself a new job. However, the exact amount is dependent on the period of time you have worked for your employer and your gross salary at the time of your employment.


Usually, this lawsuit is aimed at getting you reinstated in the event that you were terminated unlawfully. However, in most cases, both parties must agree to a severance pay package.


While it is possible to file for the Dismissal Protection Lawsuit by yourself, you can increase your chances of winning the lawsuit when you involve the expert services of an experienced lawyer like our firm Rotwang Law. With years of experience in German labour law, Rotwang Law will take over your case and defend you to ensure you get compensated for your unlawful dismissal. All laws are full of exceptions, and they may take a completely different scope of action, that’s where Rotwang Law experts come in. These specialists will leave no stone unturned in defending you to get the justice that you deserve as an unfairly dismissed expat.


3. Claim Unemployment Benefits


The question about your finances is often the root cause of your worries. How you are going to survive in such a difficult situation is what elicits the feeling of frustration. Thankfully, the government of Germany has a working unemployment insurance system (Arbeitslosenversicherung) that can cover you when you are unemployed. However, to receive unemployment benefits, you need to have contributed to the insurance fund while you were employed.


A good number of German employees are obligated to contribute to unemployment insurance during their employment years. The amount you are eligible for and the duration of coverage solely depend on your previous salary and contribution duration.


Here are the in-depth requirements that qualify you for unemployment Insurance.

  • You have to prove that you are unemployed. Ensure that you keep your termination letter safe for reference purposes. 
  • Register at your local employment office as an unemployed person. You can do this three months before your termination date when you receive your termination notice, or, in the case of immediate termination, register 3days before your termination date. You will need your termination notice to register.
  • You are required to have contributed to the unemployment insurance for a period of 12 months within 30 months of your employment.
  • You are actively looking for a new job to work at least 15 hours a week.
  • You hold a valid permit that allows you to continue working in Germany.

After you check all the requirements, you can go ahead and apply for the unemployment benefit.


• How much is the Unemployment Benefit?


The amount of unemployment benefit you are eligible for is calculated based on your previous average gross salary in the last 12 months you were in employment. After tax and social security deductions, you are eligible for 60 per cent of the amount, which will be received in monthly instalments.


• The Length of Time Valid to Claim Unemployment Benefits.


How long you can claim the benefits for is dependent on your age, how long you have been in employment and the duration of your contributions to the unemployment insurance. You are eligible to receive the benefits for anywhere between 6 months to 24 months.

You may not need to involve lawyers to claim unemployment benefits as an expat, but you can seek their advice on how to do it as well as your chances of receiving your claim. Rotwang Law is always available to offer expert advice on anything that involves German labour laws.


In Conclusion


Losing a job in a foreign land is never easy. While you need time to grieve for your loss and worry about the future, you equally need to get up and act fast on your next move. Some actions that need your involvement may have very strict timelines, and you, therefore, need to get moving as soon as you receive your termination notice.

To ensure a seamless transition into your next employment, you may need to get yourself an experienced lawyer in labour and employment law, such as Rotwang Law experts. Rotwang law specialists will give you the necessary advice to help you claim compensation for unfair dismissal and give advice on how you can claim unemployment benefits while keeping your mental health in check during this tough time. Contact us today, and we will do all the heavy lifting for you while you calm down and focus on getting your next job.

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