After a long application process, the employer has finally made a decision, the employment contract has been signed and the first day of work is due. But the new job is not yet certain.
Because at the beginning there is often the trial period . “The trial period is an instrument for employers and employees to get to know each other better,” explains Britta Beate Schön , legal expert at the consumer portal.
Trial period not required by law
The trial period is not required by law. The duration is not fixed either, but can be agreed individually, as Schön explains. It usually lasts six months. The probationary period cannot be longer, because after six months employees can invoke the Employment Protection Act.
If a trial period is agreed, this shortens the notice period for both sides to two weeks for the specified period, explains Christian Michels , specialist lawyer for labor law . If a shorter trial period has been agreed, it can be extended to up to six months.
Illness and vacation
Anyone who falls ill during the probationary period must notify the employer immediately and, if necessary, submit a doctor’s certificate . There is still money: From the second month in the new job, the continued payment of wages applies. “And in the first four weeks the health insurance company takes over the sick pay,” explains Britta Beate Schön.
Taking a vacation is also allowed. “Many still have in their minds that a vacation ban applies during the probationary period”, says Schön. But that’s not true. Employees do not have full annual vacation immediately available. But: In the first six months employees earn one twelfth of their annual vacation per month – and you can take that too.
Protection against dismissal and termination
A special feature of the probationary period: If an employee is dismissed during the first six months of the employment relationship, the employer does not need a reason for termination , explains the employment lawyer Michels. Because the Dismissal Protection Act only takes effect if an employee has been employed for at least six months .
There is special protection against dismissal before the end of the six months, for example in the event of a pregnancy . The employer is not allowed to give notice from the first day of employment.
Anyone who believes that they were unfairly terminated during their probationary period can take legal action . A wrong signature or a faulty works council hearing can make the termination ineffective, says Michels. “With all terminations, quick action is the most important thing, because there are very short deadlines .”
If an employee is fired during their probationary period, it is often not due to their professional qualities , says career advisor Doris Brenner . “They can be easily checked in the interview.” But whether someone is a human fit for the company only becomes clear after a while. That is why she advises not to focus on the technical aspects during the probationary period , but above all to integrate well into the team. “During the probationary period, you should approach others openly and see yourself as a new team member,” she says.
It is also helpful to keep a logbook from day one in the new job . “In the evening you can review the day again, write down the names of colleagues, memory aids or questions,” she says. You can also write down possible ideas for improvement in the logbook – and address them after a while, because for the first few weeks the following applies: Shut up, keep your ears open ” , says Doris Brenner.