I got an offer for a new job and I'm taking it. The notice period in the contract for my current job is 4 weeks (both ways), but I've agreed with the new company to start in 8 weeks from now, as that will give me time to tie up some loose ends in the project I work on, write documentation and, finally, introduce the other developer to my project.

My question would be, should I tell my boss now (8 weeks from my planned date to leave) that I will be leaving or just before my notice period (4 weeks before I leave)?

Info about my current position: Software developer for a very small producer of electronics (9 employees). We are only two software developers. I have been working by myself for 19 months in my main project.

  • 2
    Let's just say your current employer decides that they want to reduce the notice from 8 weeks down to 4, and you won't have a job for 4 weeks, would that be a big deal for you? Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 10:00
  • It wouldn't be the end of the world, but I would surely prefer if that didn't happen.
    – awful
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 10:44
  • Advice on your personal situation probably won't help anyone else reading this. Are there specific things you are wondering about that could inform your own decision, and that you could work into your question?
    – JonathanS
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 12:09
  • I don't know in Germany but in many countries they can't fire an employee without a very good reason. The general advice applies in US (for example) but it's not the same everywhere. In Italy, for example) I informed my manager when I started to search for a new job. It's a courtesy that may help them to plan a better transition and it won't harm you in any way. Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 15:21
  • What kind of contract is this (I suppose freelancer)? It seems weird for a normal employee: after 19 months of working 1 Month notice period in Germany should not be possible.
    – Sascha
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 11:10

3 Answers 3


You tagged this and this is very specific to Germany:

A little warning first: It's legal to have 4 weeks notice period, because the company employs less then 20 people and that is an exception, but please check your contract very carefully. Most of the time, employers just copy the legal default minimum, which is "4 weeks to the end of the month" or "4 weeks to the 15th of the month". In that case, you need to give 4 weeks notice at a specified point in time or before, not just 4 weeks before you want to leave.

Generally speaking, there is no harm in being a little early with handing in your notice. All the other horror stories you hear about unfair employers that fire you are in other countries that do not have Germany's strong laws and worker protections.

What may happen is that for your notice period, you will be getting the boring tasks. Routine maintenance, bugfixing, documenting. Not because anyone is out for you, but because that's what a notice period is for. Making sure your work is properly documented, making sure nothing is missing. The cool new shiny project? That is being worked on by your coworker. Not as a punishment, but because that person is probably still around when it launches.

So, make sure you read your contract correctly. Calculate the date you have to hand in your notice. Write it down, address the letter properly, make sure all the boxes are checked (you can google what needs to be in a Kündigung for your specific job and contract type), make sure you write a sentence or two about how you enjoyed it and appreciated the opportunity. Then print it twice and take it to work. Make sure you catch your boss at a good moment, not when they are fuming mad for a completely different reason already.

You can prepare all that in advance. There is no harm in handing in your resignation a week or two early. Do not wait until the last day if there is a better opportunity a few days earlier. Nothing bad can come out of it in Germany legally but there is a lot that can go wrong on that specific last day you need to hand it in.


Giving them more notice is not needed. I have seen companies say thanks for the notice, here is how we will pay you for the required notice period, have a nice life.

Unless they have somebody ready to fill your slot quickly, you are unlikely to have time within your notice period to be able to train a new hire. That is because unless they are already unemployed, they also have a notice period.

You will have time to pass information to an existing employee. Sometimes they are qualified to do your job. Many times they aren't qualified. That is not your concern.

Don't risk a period of no income, only tell them when you are obligated to tell them.


More information about your position at the company might be helpful.

But from the given information you are only required to inform them 4 weeks in advance as per contract. There is no incentive for you to disclose this information early.

In that 4 weeks company has to find replacement if it's a critical position and you may be required to transfer knowledge in that period but again it's company's problem not yours.


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