Labor law question: Do you have to register as unemployed between two jobs?

Changing jobs is part of most career paths.

Labor law question: Do you have to register as unemployed between two jobs?

Changing jobs is part of most career paths. But the transition from one job to another is not always seamless. When do you have to register as unemployed?

Hardly anyone spends their entire career with the same employer. However, employment relationships do not always flow seamlessly into one another. What do you have to consider from a legal point of view if there is a transitional phase between two jobs?

Cornelia Oster, specialist lawyer for labor and social law in Wiesloch, has clear advice: "I basically recommend everyone to register as a job seeker or unemployed when an employment relationship ends." This also applies to anyone who already has the prospect of a new job.

The reason: Those who register as unemployed usually have pension, health and long-term care insurance through the employment agency. "It is therefore important that there are no gaps in the pension insurance periods."

However, those who have resigned themselves usually receive a twelve-week blocking period from the employment agency, during which there is no entitlement to unemployment benefit. According to Oster, it is also advisable in this case to register as unemployed. Because even during the blocking period, the employment agency pays the contributions to health and nursing care insurance. However, there is no obligation to be insured in the pension insurance scheme.

"Of course, if you register as a job seeker or unemployed, you have to submit to the obligations of the insurance community," says Oster. This can include, for example, making appointments with the responsible clerk or writing applications.

It is also crucial to meet the deadlines, says Oster. For example, anyone who learns of a layoff must register as a job seeker within three days. If an employment relationship expires, you must register as a job seeker three months before the end of the employment relationship. And no later than on the first day without a job, you have to register as unemployed at the employment agency.

In addition, Cornelia Oster believes that even those who already have the prospect of a new job should not simply rely on it. "Even if you have a new employment contract, the employment relationship always begins with a trial period." During this time, the employment relationship can be terminated again without giving reasons. It can also always be the case that an employment relationship ultimately does not come about at all. In order to be protected for such cases, it is advisable to register as unemployed.

In any case, Oster advises seeking legal advice before giving notice. In this way you can avoid being in a worse position out of ignorance. Oster gives an example: Suppose a person has a full-time job until June 30th and starts a part-time job on August 1st. In between, she is unemployed for a month. If the part-time job is then terminated again during the probationary period, you may be entitled to a higher unemployment benefit that relates to the previous full-time job. "This entitlement only expires when I've worked part-time for a year," says Oster.

About the person: Attorney Cornelia Oster is a member of the Executive Committee of the Working Group on Social Law in the German Lawyers' Association (DAV).

(This article was first published on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.)

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