I'm working in Germany. We have a colleague who's leaving, and I am thinking about asking all the colleagues to chip in for a farewell gift. I don't really know how to ask, and if I should ask for a precise price or just ask people to chip in. We're a small company (around 30 people).

The company already organises a farewell card (with no contribution) for people who are leaving.

In my opinion, maximum 5 Euros would be appropriate amount, but I'm a foreigner and it's my first job. I wouldn't like to ask people too much or be rude.

So what would be the appropriate way to ask and should I ask a precise price?

  • 1
    It appears you have newly joined the current workplace. Have you considered taking opinion from one of the other colleague(s)? What's the practise in your workplace? Jul 7, 2019 at 19:45
  • Do they normally do this sort of thing (a card? collection? gift?) for team-mates who are leaving? As "a foreigner and it's my first job" there are presumably people who have been in your team longer, or your manager, who are more likely to be "the person who should organise this" if it normally happens. For what it's worth in most of the (UK) workplaces I've been in, there has been a card and optional contribution for someone who's leaving -- for the people they work with (e.g. you wouldn't be expected to sign/contribute for a colleague in some totally unrelated department you haven't met) Jul 8, 2019 at 20:09
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    As someone working in Germany: What you describe is quite common in Germany. Usually someone goes around collecting money and a signature on a card. Money is dropped into an envelope, so everyone can freely decide how much to give. But best ask colleagues whether it is common at your workplace.
    – sleske
    Jul 9, 2019 at 6:43
  • Don't do that as a new person. It's frequently done, but also sometimes provokes resentment (some people give always, some never, but all are expected to receive something while leaving/ celebrating b-days themselves). Many offices have official rules for that.
    – BigMadAndy
    Jul 9, 2019 at 7:02

3 Answers 3


Better to ask one of the other colleagues

While contributing money (by employees) to jointly bring a farewell gift is a thing that vary both from culture-to-culture and workplace-to-workplace.

If you are new to the current workplace, it would be appropriate to ask one of the other (older) colleagues if such practise is already followed in the workplace?

If not, you can consider seeking inputs, or rather nicely propose everyone in a group email/message.


Often done.

A card which everyone can sign and an envelope for contributions for those that so wish. Left in a suitable place (secretary or someone responsible) so all can have access for a period of time.

  • Thanks for the idea, but it is already done by the company. Jul 7, 2019 at 20:23
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    @DavidBensoussan: You should have told us that to start with! I think most people would be annoyed at being asked to contribute twice. (Or perhaps you are just talking about the card, in which case please clarify for us.)
    – TonyK
    Jul 7, 2019 at 22:06
  • Sorry, I just read your message again. I skipped the contribution part. The company just makes us sign a goodbye card, no money involved Jul 8, 2019 at 6:03
  • @TonyK I've proposed an edit to the Q (as the OP hasn't edited it) to that effect as it changes the Q a bit. Jul 8, 2019 at 20:15

I think what you are proposing would be a big mistake. It is simply not your responsibility. People would be offended by a new hire trying to take control like this.

Your colleagues will start to look at you sideways. I know I would.

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