Disaster strikes – you moved all the way to Germany to take on a fabulous job, it blows up in your face, your boss hands you your notice. Losing your job in a foreign country can be daunting, but like everything in Germany, there is a process to follow. Keep calm, follow the process, and it’ll all work out OK.
Step one is a personal visit to the relevant government agency – the Agentur für Arbeit. Don’t just assume it’s the one closest to your house, though! Each office caters for different types of clients in different districts. If you’re an academic, you might get sent to a different office. Plus, there are “job agencies” and “job centers” – the Job Center caters for those receiving a different type of unemployment benefit. It’s best to call in advance. If you book and pay for an interpreter with Red Tape Translation, we would be happy to make that call for you at no extra charge. As always, bring your passport, your address registration certificate and any correspondence from your employer that confirms your pending unemployment, such as the notice of termination or a short-term contract.
If you’ve been working in Germany for at least 12 months out of the last 2 years and paying unemployment insurance as part of your salary, you might be entitled to unemployment benefits. It depends on your work permit and is complicated. It’s best to visit the office, take your documents and see what they can do for you.
If you’re eligible, the process is pretty straightforward for salaried workers! It involves a few different appointments and a whole lotta paperwork. If you take a Red Tape Translation interpreter, we’d be happy to help you fill out the paperwork while we’re at the office with you.
If you’re a freelancer or self-employed and are facing a loss of income, you may also be entitled to benefits if you’ve been making voluntary contributions to unemployment insurance. The rules for freelancers or the self-employed are more complicated. If you’re a freelancer, you might consider making an appointment with the Agentur für Arbeit to find out how you can protect yourself against future periods of unemployment.
You get paid benefits from the date you become unemployed, but only if you notify the Agentur as soon as you can. If it takes you a while to get down to the office after you stop working, they might not backdate your payments. You can notify them up to 3 months in advance if you know the date you will become unemployed, or at the latest, on the first day of your unemployment to avoid any gaps in payment. If there are less than 3 months between the date you are given your notice and the date you will become unemployed, you should visit the office within 3 days of receiving your dismissal letter or handing in your notice. If you delay this, it might lead to a delay in receiving benefits.
Speak to us at Red Tape Translation about special rates for clients facing unemployment for visits to the Agentur für Arbeit.
A note about legal issues:
If you’re unsure where you stand on legal issues with your work contract, work permit, notice period or entitlement to benefits, get some legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in employment law. Ask us for recommendations.