Entitlement to a job reference

If you apply for a job, you have to present your references. Let you therefore from each employer one issue.

Proof of good work

Every employee is entitled to a job reference. This also applies in

  • Full or part time
  • Sideline
  • Temporary or permanent employment contracts
  • Freelance or salaried work
  • Temporary jobs, internships or probationary jobs
  • Apprenticeships or jobs as a senior manager

A job reference only needs to be provided if the employee requests it. However, when a vocational training relationship is terminated, the employer is always obliged to issue the certificate. The trainee does not have to request this first.

Temporary workers are entitled to a reference only from the hiring employer.

Self-employed persons

Self-employed persons are not entitled to an employer’s reference because they provide services free of instructions.

Types of certificates

Testimonials can vary in length. This is determined by the duration of the employment relationship and the wishes of the employee. The reference follows a certain structure.

Simple certificate

It contains your personal data as well as the type and duration of employment. The activities you have performed must be described so completely and precisely that future employers can form a clear picture of them. However, an evaluation of your performance will not be made.

The reason and circumstances of the termination of the employment relationship may only be included in the reference at your request.

Qualified reference

In addition to the information in the simple certificate, this also describes your performance and leadership. You are entitled to a qualified reference after a relatively short period of employment, if it is already possible to make a rough assessment of your professional and personal abilities. According to the courts, this is usually the case after a few weeks.

Your employer only has to provide you with a certificate on request. The jurisdiction grants the employee a right of choice. You can therefore choose between a simple or qualified reference.

the time for requesting the certificate

If you wait too long before requesting a reference, conflicts that have arisen recently may have an effect on the wording. After you have left, your successor will possibly additionally diminish your good reputation.

In addition, under certain circumstances, the right to receive a reference may be forfeited. Learn more about so-called preclusion periods here.

You can save yourself a great deal of trouble if you address this vexed issue in good time. Corrections are also easier to enforce on the spot.

According to the case law of the Federal Labor Court, you are not entitled to a reference only on your last day of work, but immediately after your own or your employer’s termination. How to make your application documents complete.

This certificate can have the heading "Provisional certificate" receive. On the last day of work, it is then replaced by the final reference. If there are no special circumstances, the final certificate must not deviate negatively from the interim certificate.

Interim reference

You can request an interim reference from your employer at any time. If there is a comprehensible reason for your request, the employer must provide you with the reference without delay. An understandable reason exists if

  • the expiry of the probationary period is imminent,
  • you are transferred within the company,
  • Your supervisor changes,
  • you wish to apply for a new job,
  • the certificate is required for a further training measure,
  • you already know the end of your employment relationship due to a fixed-term contract.

When to demand which reference?

Ask for a qualified certificate. This is the only way to get proof of your special qualifications, your performance and your leadership. You should only request a simple certificate if it is necessary to prove that you have not been idle during the period of employment.

Do not wait passively for the reference

Take advantage of the opportunities to exert influence in the last few weeks before you leave and actively help shape your report card. Remember: writing a reference is a lot of work. Especially in smaller companies without a personnel department, an overburdened boss will be grateful if you help him. And not only if you leave on good terms .

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