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Worry about being made redundant in near future

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I don't know how to infer the current situation in my company.

 

It's a well known mid sized company (matrix organization) with HQ being in Germany. I work at the HQ location, however our department is very small (3 to be precise). The thing is, one of them is retiring this year and the boss will be retiring in the next 2 years. The work which we are currently doing is being distributed to other departments within the company.

 

The company is in a very good position and there is no lack in business or revenue. We do have a workers council but at this stage nothing is officially being communicated to us by the top management. Considering the scenario of retirement of my team, member and boss, I'm worried about my job within the company since the boss also does not know. But considering that the boss is going to retire in the next 2 years, the work which we are currently doing being given to other departments within the same company and potential closure of deparment (cost center), I'm getting worried. I've been with them for the past 10 years (have a tarifvertrag) and till date has been no complaints but rather year on year increased revenues and consistently exceeded expectations. Does the company have a legal ground to make me redundant based upon department closure as my whimsical mind thinks? My responsiblities have not changed in the past years and I like the work I'm doing since it involves close contact with overseas clients as well as contacts within the company in Germany as well as overseas. 

 

My boss' boss is currently overseas as part of intercompany transfer and is expected to return just when my boss will retire in the next 2 years. At the moment there is a divisional head to whom my boss is functionally (fachlich) reporting but boss' boss has disciplinary responsiblities (I never understood this being fachlich responsible and disciplinarisch responsibilities).

 

Should i be worried about my job? I know it's easy to say look for a different job but with family and kids in tow in a place like Munich it's going to be a task. Also there are not many companies in my area of expertise in Munich which i can look into. Any ideas on how to approch this? Should i contact Betriebsrat and let htem know about my worries? HR is pretty useless in our company as it has been restructured many times and currently we have a generic e-mail id to contact for different purposes none of which fit to what i have in my mind. Any ideas or comments? Thanks!

 

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Well, you know how difficult it is to fire someone without cause in Germany, so I wouldn't worry too much.  Personally, I would look into the other departments where the work is being distributed to and see if you can be transferred there before your boss retires.  If you have been exceeding expectations, etc then this should not be a problem. Be direct and tell them that you want to move before the department where you are working is shut down.  Germans are direct and expect directness.

 

As a back up it is always good to look around.  What field are you in, if I may ask?

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8 minutes ago, BradinBayern said:

Well, you know how difficult it is to fire someone without cause in Germany, so I wouldn't worry too much.  Personally, I would look into the other departments where the work is being distributed to and see if you can be transferred there before your boss retires.  If you have been exceeding expectations, etc then this should not be a problem. Be direct and tell them that you want to move before the department where you are working is shut down.  Germans are direct and expect directness.

 

As a back up it is always good to look around.  What field are you in, if I may ask?

 

Can I ask what experience you have in this matter?

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Just in case buy legal insurance, it is around 200 EUR a year and might become very worthy if you have to use it.   Make sure your insurance covers negotiation of the settlement when you are let go and not only to fight back the termination.

 

If they can fire you or not it is very difficult to say.  They could theoretically let you go for operational reasons (your department is closed).   But it all depends on the definition of your job and the definition of the jobs of other people in other departments and how the different departments are set up.   So it is a big stretch of possibilities, from the company being able to fire you easily to be very very difficult, for example if your job is comparable to other jobs in other departments then in theory you should be transferred and if they really want to let you go then they might have to do a social plan to decide who to fire between you and all other people in comparable positions.

 

Talk to your works council representatives, they will know better how the company is setup and how easy or difficult is letting you go.  And if it is a big company, even if you have to go, you might walk with a very good settlement, i.e. 10 months of salary or more, and even a garden leave.

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I am not going to comment on the likelihood of whether you might lose your job or not, as while what Brad and Krieg have said is definitely true and both have offered very sound advice, no one can predict if or when they might lose their job and you should develop strategies to prepare for the worst even when the worst is not in sight.

 

I am not advising that you become inured to such poor treatment, or even accept it out of hand if you might have a case to fight to keep a job with your current employer, because under German law you do have very good protections as an employee.  But the thing I think everyone should strive to learn is that your employer should not be holding your "life" in their hands such that these kind of events or vague fear of losing your job can drastically disturb your personal peace.

 

First step is to always have savings of at least 3 months worth of net salary saved for emergencies.  The more the better.  I personally always make sure I have at least one year's worth of core living expenses saved for a rainy day as you never know when it will rain.  The point is that with unemployment benefits on top and a good set of skills, you should rarely need this much in reserve, but it gives you peace of mind and a sense of empowerment to have it.  The other thing to consider is that even if you don't lose your employer, you may still lose your current job as when your department dissolves you may be transferred to a new role which you may not enjoy at all.  It may sound strange but this can be worse than being fired as you will waffle and procrastinate and whatever...stagnating in a role you don't enjoy and which merely brings you a paycheck.  This is "functional" but not healthy in many cases, which can be very hard to suss out.

 

The key to dealing with a lot of this, aside from making sound financial choices, is to remember that people change jobs ALL THE DAMNED TIME whether by choice or force.  Munich offers the most variety of job opportunities of anywhere else in the country, as far as I am aware, and this should be encouraging.  You can reality check your situation by browsing and even applying for other jobs in your field, now, before you experience a crisis, to gauge the marketability of your skills and maybe even to find a new job and start a new chapter in your career.  Talk to some recruiters.  Whatever.  If your fear that your skills are too narrow seems accurate, you need to expand your skills, full stop.  Your attitude that "it may sound easy but..." is not helping you, it's just reinforcing your fears, so realty test this fear then take action as necessary.  

 

Yeah I know that all sounds easy to say but as a former american worker with zero protections who got laid off all the damned time through no fault of my own, bosses delivering the news with tears in their eyes and endless apologies along the lines of "you don't deserve this!" - sometimes it happens anyway and it's just life.  It is far more productive to be prepared than to live in fear.  Your very best defense is to develop a safety net and a game plan to deal with employment adversity whether it is your choice (because you don't like your job) or their choice (that they can't or won't find a replacement role for you).  

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Krieg said:

Just in case buy legal insurance, it is around 200 EUR a year and might become very worthy if you have to use it.   Make sure your insurance covers negotiation of the settlement when you are let go and not only to fight back the termination.

 

I do have a legal insurance which does cover job related issues.

 

21 minutes ago, Krieg said:

They could theoretically let you go for operational reasons (your department is closed).   But it all depends on the definition of your job and the definition of the jobs of other people in other departments and how the different departments are set up.  

This is what I'm worried about...operationally speaking since we are a cost-center, there are certain costs involved, however my job has evolved since the time i joined. I manage clients which are globally spread so it requires quite lot of communication within different entities in our organization. It combines project manager roles as well as account manager roles. But yeah other departments have a different set-up although there is overlapping of some functions but not all..

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3 minutes ago, emale said:

I do have a legal insurance which does cover job related issues.

 

This is what I'm worried about...operationally speaking since we are a cost-center, there are certain costs involved, however my job has evolved since the time i joined. 

 

You should listen to Krieg and speak to the workers council. The fact you have a workers council could mean that if anyone is being fired the workers council might choose to incorporate the social plan. Whether you are fired might come down to how many kids you have rather than your department.

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Thats not necessarily correct. As Krieg has pointed out only if the department is big enough. If there are no comparable places available in the company and they shut down the department where 1 person is working there wont be a plan and nothing else. Thus you need to speak to the workers council.

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You can check if your company has compulsory redundancies planned or not. In my company, for example, there are no so-called betriebsbedingte Kündigungen planned until the end of 2022. This is being negotiated during tariff agreements. This doesn't mean that they can't get rid off employees, but at least they get a golden handshake, ie. Abfindung.

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I understand your concern and it is natural.  But you are looking at something which may happen in the future, or may not.

 

As you know that the boss is retiring, and you see work is being moved around, then why not simply ask?  Tell them that you see this happening and was wondering what might happen with your position in the future?

 

They may be distributing work at the moment, but that is to solve a problem they have now.  Maybe they plan to hire somebody else, maybe they plan to merge you into another department, maybe they plan to get you to do something else.

 

Best also to go into the meeting prepared.  So that if they ask you what you would like to do in the future that you have an idea.  Even if it is just "I like working on xxxx and was hoping to be able to do something in this area in the future".

 

 

IME If the company is doing well, then they are more likely to try to move 1 or 2 people to another department rather than fire them.  As there is often plenty of work in other areas, and you already know the company, the culture, the ways of working etc., so this is an advantage to them.

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11 hours ago, Krieg said:

They could theoretically let you go for operational reasons (your department is closed).

Thats what happened to me - except they closed the "department" one month after I reached official retirement age - which didn't help my colleagues with 25+ years service aged end 50s or early 60s.  Sure there was an Abfindung for them but much goes into taxation.

 

11 hours ago, lisa13 said:

The other thing to consider is that even if you don't lose your employer, you may still lose your current job as when your department dissolves you may be transferred to a new role which you may not enjoy at all.  It may sound strange but this can be worse than being fired as you will waffle and procrastinate and whatever...stagnating in a role you don't enjoy and which merely brings you a paycheck.

Depende - if you are close to retirement age its probably sensible to hang on in there - as my Rechtsanwalt pal said "every month pays into your Rentenversicherung".

 

11 hours ago, emale said:

I do have a legal insurance which does cover job related issues.

Then you are better prepared compared to many who post similar themes here.

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11 hours ago, Wherearewegoingto said:

Thats not necessarily correct. As Krieg has pointed out only if the department is big enough. If there are no comparable places available in the company and they shut down the department where 1 person is working there wont be a plan and nothing else. Thus you need to speak to the workers council.

 

Jain.   This is a typical mistake from both sides, employers and employees.  Sometimes companies group people they want to retrench in one department and then they close it due to "operational reasons" and expect this to be a valid reason and that the trick would work, but it might backfire.   There are many things involved in the decision of who to let go.  First it is the definitions of the jobs and then what tasks the person has actually done in the past.   For example, if you move one employee from department A to department B and department A still exists and there are jobs with similar definitions/functions then the employee defense might argue that the employee can go back to department A and that he/she is comparable to everyone in department A.   And then if the employee has done functions that are not in his/her job definition (i.e. replace someone else in parents leave) then the person is now comparable with people doing that other tasks.

 

That's why sometimes in big companies you see someone that after a restructuration is still surviving but sitting there not doing much and not allowed to take different tasks, because once the person does something different has a leg to argue that it is proven he can do that other job.

 

Companies that went already through restructurations might know how to do this properly, but inexperienced HR departments might do mistakes that are easy to fight back.

 

Something you have to think about, fighting a termination is hard on the person, it is mentally exhausting and a source of big stress.  So you have to think how far you want go and if you can take it or not, some people are mentally stronger than other ones and there is no shame in recognizing you can't take it, because most times it is not worth to get sick over money or a job, and the worse, living in that level of stress for 6 to 12 months or more.   But some people just ride it and even enjoy it.

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12 hours ago, lisa13 said:

  Munich offers the most variety of job opportunities of anywhere else in the country, as far as I am aware, and this should be encouraging.  

 

 

But Munich also offers the most ridiculous cost of living.

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23 minutes ago, RenegadeFurther said:

 

But Munich also offers the most ridiculous cost of living.

But he does have the advantage of already living there instead of trying to move there - which is a huge advantage in time and costs involved -a s well as the ability to be physically present for interviews.  I also found that companies are much more likely to hire locals because they don't have as much hassle or moving expenses to cover and they can start right away.   

 

But, yes, you are correct.  Munich is ridiculous.  

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I think there is a difference between a department that is being shut down because it is unprofitable/unsuccessful and one that might be shut down because of people retiring.  In the latter case I don't think they would be looking to let people go as much.  

 

They probably just haven't addressed the issue yet because they didn't think about it, which is why communication would be important.

 

Another thing to consider - tell them you want to replace the boss when he/she retires and run your own department?  

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13 hours ago, RenegadeFurther said:

Can I ask what experience you have in this matter?

No.  Do I need a permit to offer advice? 

 

My experience is "life" and lots and lots of different jobs that went through restructuring, bankruptcies, etc.  

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15 minutes ago, BradinBayern said:

No.  Do I need a permit to offer advice? 

 

My experience is "life" and lots and lots of different jobs that went through restructuring, bankruptcies, etc.  

 

Judging by your experiences on other threads, If I was you I would really not give out advice to the OP at a critical point in his life.

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46 minutes ago, RenegadeFurther said:

 

Judging by your experiences on other threads, If I was you I would really not give out advice to the OP at a critical point in his life.

And you are an expert - how?  

 

Just for fun: Let's poll the audience, shall we?  You currently have 1,845 greenies for 5,398 posts over 6 years or an average of about 0.34 greenies per post, whilst I have 1,168 greenies for 930 posts over three years for an average of 1.25 greenies per post.  

 

I other words, go f.. yourself.  

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Greens say nothing, people get more greens for being funny, ironic, popular, etc.   Sometimes people who really answer the question with sound advice get little to no greens.

 

P.S., Not defending RF at all.   Just saying.

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