Negotiating a severance package

28 posts in this topic

Hello,

 

I have been employed for three years with the same company in Germany. Recently, I have fallen out with my new manager and I get the feeling that I may be getting the sack in the not-so-distant future. On Monday, I was asked to attend a meeting with her and HR later this week. This, as far as I am concerned, is a portentous omen.

 

I have never been fired before so some of my questions might come across as incredibly naive/ill-informed.

 

- I don't think they can fire me for gross misconduct or economic reasons, so at this point their best course of action would have to be a negotiated deal. Am I correct in assuming so?

 

- Any severance pay I accept means that I, in effect, choose to resign in exchange for a certain amount of money. It is my understanding that if I resign I am unable to claim benefits for at least three months.

 

- My work contract is subject to an industry wide labour agreement (Tarifverträge der Metallindustrie). Does this afford me an extra layer of protection when it comes to negotiating?

 

- I have Rechtschutzversicherung. I am not sure how to use/activate it. If I call any lawyer in the phone book and ask him to review a document, is it covered? Those things can cost 300 euros a pop, right?

 

Many thanks for any advice you might have, whether specific to Germany or just general pointers on how to cope in this situation. I have made my peace with the idea that my future is no longer with my future employer, all I want now is to minimise the financial impact.

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I would immediately go first to a rechtsanwalt if you have the versicherung. You might have to find out how in your contract for the versicherung.

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- I don't think they can fire me for gross misconduct or economic reasons, so at this point their best course of action would have to be a negotiated deal. Am I correct in assuming so?

 

you never know. you need to do some searching on "Abmahnung" and "Aufhebungsvertrag" here on TT as well. Before a company can fire you, they must provide a paper trail. This is in form of a letter of warning (of course if you steal or collect child pornography on your company laptop, then they would be justified in letting you go immediately.). usual severance package is 1 month salary per year of employment. this is standard! when i left my old job, i negotiated 2 months and we settled on 1 1/2.

 

 

 

 

- Any severance pay I accept means that I, in effect, choose to resign in exchange for a certain amount of money. It is my understanding that if I resign I am unable to claim benefits for at least three months.

 

correct. but also the unemployment office can also take into account the notice period on your work contract. in my case, it was 6 months so it would have been possible that i could not claim any benefits for 9 months. this was the worse case scenario. but i found a new job quickly so it wasn't an issue and i never had to claim benefits.

 

 

 

 

- My work contract is subject to an industry wide labour agreement (Tarifverträge der Metallindustrie). Does this afford me an extra layer of protection when it comes to negotiating?

 

are you part of a union? does your company have a works council (Betriebsrat)? You would do well off to consult them ASAP.

 

 

 

 

- I have Rechtschutzversicherung. I am not sure how to use/activate it. If I call any lawyer in the phone book and ask him to review a document, is it covered? Those things can cost 300 euros a pop, right?

 

my lawyer at the time charged me €100-150 to help me out when i was given an Abmahnung. my rechtschutz comes with a yearly deductible which was the same as the consult. i had a lawyer in stuttgart.

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are you part of a union? does your company have a works council (Betriebsrat)? You would do well off to consult them ASAP.

 

In fact the OP could possible request that a member of the Betriebsrat accompany them to the meeting (if it is really felt that things have gone down the tubes) or at least to a follow-up.

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usual severance package is 1 month salary per year of employment. this is standard! when i left my old job, i negotiated 2 months and we settled on 1 1/2.

 

 

That's not actually true - Legally it is 0.5 months salary per year of employment.

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@OP

1. Talk to your works council / Union reps ASAP.

2. Request that a WC/Union (Or both) Rep attend the meeting with you. (Don't go alone,Reschedule if needed)

3. Don't sign or agree to ANYTHING until you talk it over with said reps. and your lawyer.

4. No matter what is said, stay calm and collected.

5. Bring hard fact evidence to support your story.

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Definitely get in touch with the Betriebsrat for advice and support. Request the presence of a member in any meeting with HR and your boss. Don't sign anything without discussing it with the Betriebsrat first. Consider moving department if possible rather than leaving the company immediately. Sounds like you're being squeezed out. Been there and done it so I commiserate.

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3. Don't sign or agree to ANYTHING until you talk it over with said reps. and your lawyer.

 

VERY sound advice. Avoid getting stampeded.

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Do you belong to the IG Metall (or another) Union? Contact them straight away if you do. Even if you don't, contact the local union rep, since you are on a Tarifvertrag - the union will not want any precedents being set without their involvement but their assistance to you personally will probably be very limited if you are not a paying member.

 

Assuming you are not in a union, contact a Rechtsanwalt specialising in Arbeitsrecht (but check their rates!)

 

There is no legal requirement to pay you Abfindungsgeld but most companies (esp if they have a union rep as you do) will have a policy. This is often: 1 months gross salary * number of full years employment * 0,5

 

edit: and what darkknight said

 

another edit: and please also note, the Abfindungsgeld is also taxable.

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also if you do not work out your notice in 3 years i beleive its a month then when you go for unemployment benefit it will be reckoned on your unemployment benefit

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You could also see if there is somewhere else in the company you could work. Its not uncommon for personality clashes to occur when new managers arrive, acknowledge that and see if there is another solution. IMHO that is what HR are for ...

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Wow, I logged in this morning merely hoping this thread hadn't dropped off to the bottom of the forum... I would like to thank everyone who took the time to help.

 

Since my meeting is tomorrow morning and many people are still on holiday I will probably not be able to arrange proper representation in time. Should the worst case scenario materialise (they want to can me), I will politely ask them to reschedule so I can get in contact with the Works Council and a Rechtsanwalt.

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You can bet the Betriebsrat are already informed as ß102 BVG states " a Kundigung without the Betriebsrat being informed is non applicable. Also the Betriebsrat can but must not question the person concerned. don't forget you only have 7 working days to take your case to a labour tribunal IMMEDIATLY AFTER receiving your notice

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Get a lawyer even if there is a betriebrat! The reason is that the Betriebsrat is not there to protect you! The role of the Betriebsrat is to ensure that the agreed policies are followed. Add to this the fact that in nearly every company I have seen here the Betriebsrat is filled with managers (who are company men and have a career only at company X) and you can see that your only reliable friend here is a lawyer.

 

Because people here don't tend to change job lightly here, and in general it is actually quite hard to give someone the boot 'mobbing' (bullying) tends to be a common phenomenon here. Make sure you know your rights and duties and start a paper trail yourself and FFS go get a Lawyer..

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You can bet the Betriebsrat are already informed as ß102 BVG states " a Kundigung without the Betriebsrat being informed is non applicable. Also the Betriebsrat can but must not question the person concerned. don't forget you only have 7 working days to take your case to a labour tribunal IMMEDIATLY AFTER receiving your notice

Thats what the law states, however thats not what always happens. I've seen many companies try to play games with people and try to get rid

of them without following the correct channels. Each time it ended well for the Employee being let go as they took the company to court and

won large sums of money..

 

 

The reason is that the Betriebsrat is not there to protect you! The role of the Betriebsrat is to ensure that the agreed policies are followed. Add to this the fact that in nearly every company I have seen here the Betriebsrat is filled with managers (who are company men and have a career only at company X) and you can see that your only reliable friend here is a lawyer.

Bzzt.. Wrong.. The Betriebsrat is there for the employee. There are some basic rules that also govern if/when managers

can/can't be apart of the Betriebsrat. If they are then they have to be impartial/neutral. If not then the employee has a greater

chance of winning a legal case against the company. Labor court judges love to have such open/close type cases where

these companies violate the employees rights and due process channels.

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Fraid not DK, which is why if you have any doubts whatsoever go to a lawyer.

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I suggest you get a copy of the Works Council Rules/Guide books put out by the Govt.

Having been a WC member for a few years, I can tell you that what was posted was correct and what actually happened

during actual court cases that the company was brought to be employees for wrongful Termination. Not only did the court

find that the company was not following the law, it also found that a certain WC Member (A manager) should not have been

on the council due to his mgmt. position in the company. The court found that having this person on the WC was a conflict of

interest.

 

In any case, having your lawyer there at the meeting would also be a big help.

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Usual severance package is 1 month salary per year of employment. this is standard!

I was told recently that the legally mandated amount is 0.7-month salary per year of employment (and that it had been 0.5 but had recently been raised). Since others here seem to be unclear, does anyone know for sure?

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@leeeza: it depends partly how long you have been with said company and the circumstances in which you have to leave.

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