Edited: 13.02.2015 - 08:35

Keywords: Employment terms and conditions

Trial period

An employee and an employer can agree on a trial period at the beginning of a new employment relationship. The purpose of a trial period is to find out whether the employment contract meets the expectations of both parties. Any trial period and its duration must be specifically agreed in the employment contract. When concluding the employment contract, the employer may also inform the employee that the provision of the relevant collective agreement on trial periods will apply to the employment relationship. If no trial period has been agreed or no reference to the trial period provision of the collective agreement has been made, the employment relationship does not involve any trial period. As a general rule, the same parties may only agree on a trial period once.

Duration of a trial period

The maximum duration of a trial period is four months. For employment contracts signed for a fixed term shorter than eight months, the parties may agree on a trial period equivalent to no more than half of the total period of validity of the contract. For instance, a six-month fixed-term contract may include a maximum trial period of three months. The trial period starts when the work starts.

Cancelling an employment contract during a trial period

During a trial period, the employment contract can be cancelled by either party with immediate effect and no term of notice. However, the trial period must not be used to cancel the contract on grounds that are inappropriate with regard to the purpose of the trial period. Inappropriate grounds include an employee’s pregnancy or election as a shop steward, for example. Furthermore, an employment contract cannot be cancelled for financial and production-related reasons.

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