During the first six months of employment, the German Protection Against Unfair Dismissal Act (KSchG) does not apply. This means that the employment can be terminated during this time without requiring a justification. Terminations during that time are only deemed invalid if they are inconsistent with the principles of good faith. This can, however, be the case if the employer only terminates the employment relationship to avoid dismissal protection, but wants to further employ the employee for a fixed-term period, e.g. by applying a longer notice period than applicable by law.
Despite these guidelines, a German District Employment Court ruled on 6 May 2015 that a termination during the first six months of the employment by applying an extended notice period is valid, if the employer extends the notice period not in order to avoid dismissal protection, but in order to give the employee another chance to prove himself for the position. Therefore, if the employer is not sure about the qualification of the employee, but wants to give him/her another chance, it might be a practical solution to terminate the employment during the first six months of employment with an extended notice period. The Federal Labour Court had decided on 7 March 2002 that such an extension of the probation period is possible also by mutual termination agreement. The current decision reinforces this case law.
Please note, however, that employers should make use of this regulation only restrictively and should explicitly alter the termination letter to describe the reason for the extended notice period.