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Letter of termination: samples, templates, tips, 6 mistakes

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With the letter of resignation, you formally terminate the employment relationship with your employer. In doing so, employees must observe important points so that the termination is effective - for example, the paper form, time and signature. If there are errors in the structure, content or notice periods, the notice of termination is invalid. We will show you how to write a formally correct notice of termination and which regulations you have to pay attention to when writing your notice of termination. You will also receive free templates and samples to download ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Letter of termination template: edit + download

If you find it difficult to write a resignation or if you are unsure about the wording - no problem. Below is a legally valid letter of termination. Employees can use the formally correct template to submit their notice of termination to the employer. You can edit it in the browser beforehand. Simply click on the box and rewrite the template.

Notice of termination, sample 1 (detailed variant)


John Doe
Phantasiestrasse 1
12345 example city

Fantasy GmbH
Personnel department z.H. Mr. Muster
Hauptstrasse 2
45678 Musterhausen

Termination of my employment contract, personnel number: 1234
Dear Mr. Muster,

I hereby terminate my employment contract properly and in good time at the earliest possible point in time. According to my calculation and in compliance with the notice period, this is DD.MM.YYYY.

I would like to thank you for the good and collegial cooperation so far. I was able to learn a lot and I am grateful for the support you have given me.

Please confirm receipt of the letter of termination and the stated date on which the employment contract ends.

I also ask that you issue me with a qualified job reference. Please send me this along with my working papers to the above address.

With best regards

Max Mustermann (handwritten signature)

Notice of termination, sample 2 (short version)


John Doe
Phantasiestrasse 1
12345 example city

Fantasy GmbH
Personnel department z.H. Mr. Muster
Hauptstrasse 2
45678 Musterhausen

termination
Dear Mr. Muster,

I hereby terminate my employment contract properly and in due time on the next possible date. Please confirm the receipt of the cancellation and the termination date.

I ask for a qualified job reference to be issued.

Best Regards

Max Mustermann (handwritten signature)

Free: 6 termination letter templates

Do you not only want to terminate your job, but also your insurance, your apartment, your mobile phone contract or the contract with the gym? Then simply download our free samples and templates:

  • Letter of termination employee template Word, PDF
  • Termination without notice template Word, PDF
  • Termination Letter Flat Template Word, PDF
  • Termination letter insurance template Word, PDF
  • Letter of termination gym template Word, PDF
  • Cancellation letter mobile phone contract template Word, PDF

Formal requirements for the letter of termination

Hardly any text is required to draw up a formally correct letter of resignation. The shorter and more precise, the more waterproof. It is all the more important that you observe formal rules and adhere to deadlines. Here is the overview.

Letter of termination: the rules

  • Written form: According to § 623 BGB, the termination must be made “in writing” (on paper). Oral termination is ineffective. Likewise, a letter of termination by e-mail, SMS, fax or Whatsapp.
  • Uniqueness: The notice of termination must be "unambiguous". No subjunctive, no long explanations. It must be clear to the recipient: you are giving notice. For this purpose, the word "termination" in the subject line or in the first sentence the formulation: "I hereby terminate ..."
  • Time: The letter of termination must specify a date when the termination will apply. This is done using a date or a formula "at the earliest possible point in time".
  • Signature: The letter of termination MUST be signed personally and in full name so that it becomes legally binding. Electronic or scanned signatures are not valid.
  • Access: The "access" decides WHEN the termination becomes legally effective. If the letter of termination is handed over personally (ideally in front of witnesses), it applies immediately. The same applies if the employee submits the notice to the HR department. If the notice of termination is sent by post, it is only considered "received" as soon as it is within the control of the party to be terminated. A letterbox or post office is sufficient for this.

Letter of termination structure & content

Even if you keep the letter of resignation short: The pitfalls are in the details. When writing a notice of termination, please pay attention to the following points in terms of structure and content:

Letterhead (mandatory)

The letter of termination begins with personal data: your full name and current address. This includes the (company) name and address of the employer. Proofread all information! Typos can make the letter of termination ineffective.

Date (mandatory)

In the cancellation letter, you need to include two dates: The date of the letter in the upper right corner - it serves as proof of the timely delivery. And the date when the employment relationship should end. Note (statutory) notice periods!

Subject (mandatory)

Like any official document, the resignation letter requires a subject line. For the sake of clarity, “termination” should appear here. You can either enter your personnel number or the date on which the employment contract was signed or is to end. Example:

Termination of my employment contract for DD.MM.YYYY
My personnel number: MM987654-123

Salutation (mandatory)

The notice of termination must be addressed to a responsible person, not to "Dear Sir or Madam". Employees address the termination either to the boss or to the HR department. Who is responsible: ask beforehand!

Notice of termination (mandatory)

The basic content of the letter of termination is the notice of termination. So the unequivocal statement that you want to end the employment relationship. This is mandatory in the introductory sentence. Example:

  • "I hereby terminate my employment contract for DD.MM.YYYY."
  • "I hereby terminate my existing employment contract properly and in due time at the earliest possible date."
  • "In compliance with the contractually agreed notice period of dd.mm.yyyy, I hereby terminate my employment contract."

Reason (optional)

An "ordinary" termination does not need a reason. This is voluntary in the letter of termination. If you want to give the ex-employer an indication of why you are resigning, you should remain objective. Example:

  • "For professional reasons I have decided not to continue the existing employment relationship."
  • "Unfortunately, for health reasons, I am unable to continue my professional activity."
  • "As I told you in a personal interview, the main reasons for my departure are the lack of prospects."

Acknowledgments (Optional)

If you are positive, you should briefly thank you for your cooperation in the letter of termination. That shows greatness and respect. One or two short sentences are enough. Words for thanksgiving:

  • “At this point I would like to thank you for the good cooperation so far. I was able to learn a lot for my professional career. I wish you and the company all the best for the future. "
  • “Thank you for the trust you have shown and the positive cooperation so far. I was able to develop personally and professionally and I am happy when we stay in contact. "
  • "Thank you for the pleasant time in your company. I was able to develop professionally and personally here and gain a lot of experience. I thank you very much for that. "

Acknowledgment of receipt (optional)

If you want to be on the safe side, you can have the notice of termination confirmed. However, the employer is not obliged to do so. The safest way to do this is to give notice of termination in front of a witness or to send the letter by registered mail. However, the request for confirmation of receipt of the letter of termination cannot do any harm. Example formulations:

  • "Please briefly confirm receipt of the termination in writing."
  • "Please confirm receipt and effective termination in writing."
  • "I ask you to confirm receipt of the cancellation and the cancellation date in writing."
  • "I would like to ask you to confirm in writing that you have received the notice of termination and the date of termination of the employment relationship."

Request for a job reference (recommended)

Always ask for a qualified job reference in the letter of termination. Employees have a statutory right to this. You will also need the job reference for the application. Example formulations:

  • "In addition, I ask for a qualified job reference to be issued."
  • "I would also like to ask you to issue me a qualified job reference, which you should send to the above address."
  • "Please also provide me with a qualified job reference."

Greeting & signature (mandatory)

The letter of termination MUST be signed by hand. An inserted picture of the handwritten signature or the typed name are not enough. Ideally, you end the letter of termination with a classic greeting and signature. Example:

  • "With best regards
    (Personal signature) "
  • "Best Regards
    (Personal signature) "

Can I undo the letter of termination?

No. The formally correct and written termination is final and cannot be withdrawn. There is no such thing as “accidentally terminated” in labor law. Withdraw the termination - this can only be done with a verbal termination in affect. Anyone who shouts angry "I quit" to the boss in a rage can still revoke that afterwards.

Notice periods in labor law

In labor law, the notice of termination is a unilateral "need to be received" declaration of intent with the aim of terminating the employment relationship. Means: Only when it has been "received" do the deadlines begin. Employees and employers must observe the following notice periods:

  • Statutory notice period
    According to Section 622 of the German Civil Code (BGB), Paragraph 1, employees can terminate their contract with a “basic notice period” of four weeks to the 15th or the end of a calendar month. For employers, the statutory notice period is sometimes longer. It is based on the length of service of the employee (see graphic):
  • employment contract
    The employment contract can stipulate a longer period of notice than the statutory one. Then this applies. However, it must never be longer for employees than for employers. And it must not exceed seven months. If you want to get out of the contract beforehand: Read on HERE.
  • Collective agreement
    If the employment contract is based on a collective agreement, its fixed notice periods apply.
  • Probationary period
    The probationary period usually lasts six months. During the probationary period, both parties can terminate the contract - without giving any reason - with a notice period of 2 weeks.

Termination by the employer: 5 types

In addition, there are five forms of termination by employers in Germany: four types of "ordinary termination" and one of "extraordinary termination". The latter ignores and shortens applicable notice periods “for good reason”. The detailed guides are linked:

1. Conduct-related termination
2. Termination for personal reasons
3. Termination due to illness
4. Termination for operational reasons
5. Termination without notice

You can download a detailed overview of the types of termination and requirements HERE free of charge as a PDF.

Letter of termination for employees: terminate without notice?

Employees can also terminate the contract without notice and thus get out of the contract prematurely. According to § 626 BGB, termination without notice by employees is only possible for “good cause”. In other words: The employee cannot be expected to continue working for the company. Important reasons are:

  • The salary is paid too late or not at all for a long time.
  • The employee is threatened, insulted or physically attacked by the employer.
  • The employee is sexually harassed or harassed regularly (see: Mobbing).
  • The employer disregards the occupational health and safety regulations and endangers the health of the employees.
  • The employer demands criminal acts from the employees - for example falsifying accounts, bribery or fraud.

Here, too, you must observe deadlines: According to Section 626 (2) BGB, employees are obliged to inform the employer of the reason for the termination in writing within two weeks of knowing the trigger (the "important reason"). He must have a chance to remedy the grievance, otherwise the termination without notice is not effective.

Letter of termination for a fixed-term contract

A fixed-term employment contract does not provide for any notice or notice period. It is limited from the start. The employment relationship ends automatically when the contract expires. According to Section 15 (3) and (4) of the Part-Time and Fixed-Term Employment Act (TzBfG), early termination is only possible for employees if this stipulates a corresponding termination clause in the employment contract or collective agreement. Another possibility to terminate fixed-term employment contracts prematurely is the above-mentioned termination without notice for an important reason.

Reasons: When should I cancel?

Before you terminate the employment relationship and initiate the letter of resignation, you should carefully examine the decision. So that there is no “gap in the résumé”, you should have good reasons and be able to name them later in the interview. For example…

Good reasons to quit

  • health
    There are jobs that make you sick: permastress, overload, bullying boss and colleagues. Nobody should endure such a thing in the long run. Money may be important - health is more important.
  • boredom
    I don't mean a boreout. Something can be done about that. But if the job is no longer challenging and you can't learn or achieve anything there, it's time to change jobs.
  • Expectations
    Some employers have expectations that cannot be met despite commitment and overtime. If the boss is never satisfied, the dismissal can be an emergency exit.
  • Standstill
    In every respect: There is a lack of career prospects as well as financial ones. If the shop doesn't even develop further, the job is in danger in the long term. Better go before the ship sinks.

Bad reasons to quit

  • frustration
    Everyone has a bad day at work. But that is no reason to throw the gun in the grain. There are also frustrating days elsewhere. The overall picture over the course of the year is crucial.
  • error
    You screwed up something. That costs the company dearly. The shame is great. Nevertheless, you can grow from it: Take responsibility and learn from it.
  • boss
    Employees come for jobs and leave for bosses. That is only partly true. Very few bosses are perfect. Who knows what the next one is like. Then better learn to manage managers.

Prepare to terminate: step by step

A termination is not something that you decide spontaneously. To avoid mistakes, you should proceed as follows:

  • Start job search
    Update your application documents and start looking for a job and applying at an early stage. This saves you valuable time. It is also easier to apply from a position that has not been terminated than from unemployment.
  • Plan conversation
    Prepare for a termination interview. Either because the boss wants to talk to you about the reasons for the termination. Or because you want to object to the termination. Important: Always stay factual, verbal accounting is taboo!
  • Inform family
    Before you quit: Talk to family or friends about your resignation. Emotional support is important in the situation. Otherwise, you may be risking a personal crisis.
  • Collect documents
    You never know! Gather all documents that are relevant to the termination: letters of termination, e-mails and any threats from the manager. So you are prepared for a legal dispute. Always stow the documents at home - never in the office!
  • Pay attention to reputation
    Once the resignation letter is presented, work for your reputation. Until you leave, stay professional, friendly, dedicated and don't let yourself get into debt. Everything else is poison for the résumé.

Termination letter error

Formal errors and content errors can render an otherwise legally secure termination ineffective. Therefore, always check your resignation letter for these errors:

  • The termination was not given in writing.
    The letter of termination was sent by email, fax or messenger.
  • Names and addresses are missing in the letter of termination.
    And between both the sender and the recipient. Make sure that the company form (AG, SE, GmbH & Co. KG, etc.) is spelled correctly.
  • The will to terminate is not clearly recognizable.
    The will to terminate the employment relationship is not clearly expressed or has been linked to a condition.
  • The signature under the notice of termination is missing.
    At the end of the letter of resignation there is only the printed name or a paragraph of the full name.
  • The delivery of the letter cannot be proven.
    The termination is a document that needs to be received. It only applies from receipt by the addressee. If in doubt, you have to be able to prove this.
  • The notice period was not met.
    If the notice period is too short, the letter of termination is legally open to attack.

Frequently asked questions about the letter of resignation

Since there are many details to consider in labor law, you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the letter of termination below.

"How do I write a letter of termination on time?"

Ideally, you should research the period of notice that applies to you from the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement in advance and give notice as soon as possible. If you are unsure, the following wording in the letter of termination will also help: "If a termination by DD.MM.YYYY is not possible, I will terminate as a precaution and alternatively at the next possible point in time."

"On what date do I have to cancel: on the 31st or the 1st?"

As a rule, the notice of termination is given at the end of the month. So on December 31st. You quit correctly on the last working day. The notice period begins from the time of receipt.

"Should I send the letter of termination by post or hand it over personally?"

Handing over the letter of resignation in person has more style and size. Especially when you part on good terms. You can also cancel by post. The main thing is that you can prove access.

"After the letter of resignation: What happens to my remaining vacation?"

Your vacation entitlement remains after the termination. If the termination takes effect on July 1st at the earliest, you are entitled to the full statutory remaining vacation. For this, however, the employment relationship must have existed for at least six months. If the employment relationship was shorter or if the termination date is in the first half of the year, the vacation only has to be granted proportionally.

"Am I threatened with a freeze on payments for unemployment benefits?"

Those who terminate the job face a 3-month ban on ALG 1. This also applies if you sign a termination agreement. Exceptions are cases in which you were bullied or exposed to health risks and where you resigned yourself for self-protection. However, you have to provide evidence of these cases (with a doctor). There is no guarantee that the lock will no longer apply. Exception: If you have to move to another city for private reasons. You should therefore register as “job seeker” at the employment office as early as possible in order to avoid payment delays.

"Can I be terminated because of illness during the probationary period?"

Illness does not protect against dismissal. You cannot be terminated because you get sick during the probationary period. However, there is no protection against dismissal during the probationary period. So it doesn't take a reason to fire you. It doesn't have to be named either. Under certain conditions, termination without notice can even be considered: For example, if you are caught wearing the blue.

"Can I use the letter of resignation to quit a job that I have not yet started?"

What is meant is a "termination before starting work". Tricky! Because one finally forgets it with this employer. In the worst case, the employer is well networked with others. Whether it is legally possible depends on clauses in the employment contract: If there is no dismissal before starting work, you must start the job and terminate it during the probationary period - with two weeks' notice. An alternative to the letter of resignation would be an amicable settlement with the employer.

"When do I have to give notice of termination?"

An employee can terminate at any time. The decisive factor is when you want to get out of the contract. Unless otherwise stipulated in the contract, you have a 4-week notice period. The employer should receive the letter of termination no later than four weeks before the desired last working day.

"Can the letter of termination also be submitted earlier?"

Do you want to change jobs and your job search was successful? Then you don't have to wait weeks before submitting your letter of resignation. The notice period is a minimum. As long as you write in the letter of termination when the termination should take effect, you can also terminate months in advance.

“I want to get out of the employment contract earlier. What can I do?"

There is a great temptation to provoke an early termination. Anyone who comes to work extra late, works less or celebrates sick leave justifies a behavior-related or immediate termination. But that can later be found in the job reference - and then follows you for your entire working life. Not a good idea! It is wiser to find an amicable settlement. If necessary with the help of a specialist lawyer for labor law. He may find clauses in the employment contract to get out of the contract prematurely.

"How do I justify the termination in the application?"

Regardless of whether you have been dismissed or have submitted the letter of resignation yourself: In the application, what is known as motivation to go there is crucial. We explain how this works in this video:

In-depth articles on termination

[Photo credit: Karrierebibel.de]