I work in Germany at a tech company, a couple of months ago my boss decided I don't do well and gave me an improvement plan where they can fire me if I don't do better after some time.
This decision was very unfair to me, coming right after I had a very stressful personal experience that my manager knew about.
Anyway, I have found a better job now and I would like to quit my company without burning bridges.
How can I do it gracefully?
Tell him personally and give him a letter? Email? What should I include in it? Are there any special requirements that are in accordance with German law?

  • The professional aspects are covered by the question @TymoteuszPaul linked. If there are important legal elements regarding resignations in Germany (I wouldn't be surprised), that could be a valid question on its own but then this should be edited.
    – Lilienthal
    Apr 15 '20 at 10:35
  • What exactly are you worried about?
    – guest
    Apr 15 '20 at 11:01
  • The link does answer a big part of my question. However, legal elements regarding resignation in Germany is a major concern of mine as well.
    – anxiousPI
    Apr 15 '20 at 11:42
  • I'm not sure there are any legal elements to quitting a job in a free country. Perhaps you are barred from working in the new company, but that is not what is being asked here. VTC.
    – bharal
    Apr 15 '20 at 11:47


If you can read german, that's a good site!

The short version: Do it written. Other forms are permissible, but you have a problem to prove anything in case of misunderstanding. So written is still prefered and also customary.

First, check your resignation deadline. By law, this is 4 weeks to the end or mid of month, but in a lot of IT contracts it's 3 months to the end of month. But, different clauses exists, so read yours carefully.

The example letter uses the phrase "next possible date", but a lot of resignation letters write the concrete date in there.

the resignation needs:

  • you name
  • company name
  • current date
  • resigning date (again, phrase "next possible date" is permissible)
  • your signature
  • the phrase "I hereby resign my contract"

Usualy, a phrase is included to ask for a confirmation of resignation. And also ask for a certificate of employment (Arbeitszeugniss)

If you don't like your resignation deadline, because you want to quit sooner, you can try to talk to your manager beforehand. They might be willing to let you go earlier. If both sides agree, the deadline can be shortened to as little as both sides agree too. (Even immediatly)

  • 2
    Yes you need the letter, but no, you do NOT do this just in writing, You do it in a personal meeting with your boss where you verbally tell them and then you hand over the letter as confirmations
    – Hilmar
    Apr 15 '20 at 16:41
  • I was more focused on the formal aspect of it, because the linked answer "how to resign gracefully" covers it. But you are totaly right: Talk with your manager.
    – Benjamin
    Apr 15 '20 at 20:29
  • The one time Italian bureaucracy is more advanced. Here you just log into your INPS (govt. social security) account, select "job resignation" from the menu, fill in the form and press submit. The company automatically gets notified and there's no chance for crummy "he never gave us the letter" excuses or anything like that. Of course before doing this you'd usually tell your boss (at least if you're leaving on good terms).
    – Demonblack
    Apr 16 '20 at 0:06

What I like to do: I write a letter of resignation. It should read something like

 Hiermit kündige ich mein Anstellungsverhältnis fristgercht zum
 <date>, ersatzweise zum nächstmöglichen Termin. 
Für die Zusammenarbeit bedanke ich mich herzlich.

Print and sign. Make a copy four yourself.

The I print a second page:

Hiermit bestätige ich den Erhalt der ordenlichen Kündigung von <name> 

Datum: ______
Unterschrift: _____

Then I hand in the letter personally and let my boss sign the second page as receipt for me.

  • The times I have done this, I have also included my job title, when my contract started and who the other party is. "Hiermit kündige ich das zwischen <company> und mir bestehende Arbeitsverhältnis als <job title> vom <start date> ordentlich und fristgerecht zum <date>, ersatzweise zum nächstmöglichen Termin. Bitte bestätigen Sie mir den Erhalt der Kündigung und das Aufhebungsdatum schriftlich. Bitte stellen Sie ein qualifiziertes Arbeitszeugnis aus" For good form, you also want to say "Für die Zusammenarbeit bedanke ich mich herzlich.".
    – simbabque
    Apr 15 '20 at 15:33
  • @simbabque I would avoid adding unnecessary detail. You can win nothing but you can make more errors. The "Höflichkeitsfloskel" is a good idea though!
    – Daniel
    Apr 15 '20 at 15:42
  • fristgercht => fristgerecht Apr 15 '20 at 16:53

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