Important things to know about unemployment benefits before your New Zealand trip – Backpacking Tips

Important things if you have worked before travelling

Every country has different rules to save your work and income help (or named similar). So here we go on the example for Germany, we show you a few things you should take care of before travelling.


Don't forget to check your unemployment benefits before travelling

Don't forget to check your unemployment benefits before travelling


Things you should definitely check with the employment office before your trip

You have already worked or completed an apprenticeship? You have quit your job or have been fired to go to New Zealand? Then please note the following information. The Employment Agency has a few pitfalls that could reduce or prevent your existing entitlement to unemployment benefit.


For whom this article is important

This article is important for you if you have already worked employed and you want to go abroad. This article is very important if you want to travel for more than 1 year.


Am I entitled to receive unemployment benefits

The basis for calculating whether there is an entitlement to ALG1 is as follows. In order to calculate whether you are entitled to ALG1, you will be checked to see whether you have worked for at least 360 days in an employment relationship subject to social insurance contributions within the last 2 years from the time of your personal unemployment registration. If you have fulfilled this basis, you are probably entitled to unemployment benefit.

If you do not meet this assessment basis, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Under certain conditions, you can alternatively receive support from the job centre. However, this is more individual and therefore not part of the contribution.


What should I do before starting my trip

If you do not want to receive unemployment benefit, there is no obligation to register with the employment agency.

However, if you would like to be entitled to unemployment benefit, read on here.

In order to secure your entitlement to unemployment benefit, you should register in person at your local employment agency on the first day of unemployment. This is the employment agency in your place of residence (the place where you are registered).

To secure your entitlement, you must be registered as unemployed for at least one day before you leave.

Therefore, our recommendation for you! No matter when and how long you want to go to New Zealand. If you have quit your job (or have been fired), make an appointment with the Agentur für Arbeit (formerly called Arbeitsamt) immediately. Explain exactly what you plan to do and register unemployed for at least one day. Of course, it sounds silly to register unemployed for a day, but there is a deeper meaning. One day will be used to check and calculate your entitlement to unemployment benefit 1. You will probably be suspended for a few months (maximum 3 months) if you have given notice yourself and will receive nothing before you leave. BUT as soon as you are back, both your suspension (which runs for a maximum of 3 months from your unemployment registration) has expired and your entitlement to unemployment benefit will be valid for up to 4 years instead of one year. This is important to know and would have saved me a lot of running after the fact.

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A seamless transition is unfortunately not possible, which means that you cannot quit at the end of the month and leave on the 1st of the new month. Even then you can lose your entitlement after one year because you did not have the opportunity to register as unemployed. Ideally, you should plan a few days for the employment office between your last working day and your departure. Your administrator may also give you another option.



Example 1:

I have terminated my employment myself as of 31.5., but as I still have some vacation time left, I am leaving Germany on 28.5.

Depending on the length of your trip, this is a bad constellation. Since you did not personally register unemployed before your departure. Your claim expires after you have been away from Germany for more than 370 days. If you want to receive unemployment benefit, you must personally return to Germany within this period to register as unemployed.


Example 2:

I was fired by my employer and don't know what to do.

Immediately after you receive your notice of termination, you should register with the employment agency looking for work. This can be done by telephone, online or in person on site.

On the first day of unemployment, you must register as unemployed with the local employment agency in person. This must be done in person on the spot, so it is not possible to do this online or by telephone while you are away.


Example 3:

I quit my job myself and I'm not leaving until X weeks after the job ends. What do I have to do?

I had this constellation myself. In order to receive all claims to unemployment benefit, I recommend the following way.

As soon as you have handed in your notice of termination, you inform the employment agency about your notice of termination and your initial registration as a job-seeker from date X.

Normally you will receive an invitation for an interview at some point after the registration. There you can explain to the person in charge why you have quit your job and that you plan to travel. Normally he or she will not make any major effort to get you back to work.

On the first day of your unemployment (one day after the last day of work) you must personally register as unemployed. This registration is important to establish your entitlement to unemployment benefit.

Since you have given notice yourself, you will be blocked for a period of time starting on the first day of registration. It also continues if you register with the employment office again shortly before your departure and inform them that you are no longer looking for work and are unemployed. You are not available to the labour market during your trip, so you are not entitled to ALG payments while you are travelling.

After returning from your trip, you should immediately (ideally on the day after your return) contact the employment agency again and can then start receiving benefits directly without a new blocking period as long as you return within the 4-year period.


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Example 4:

I have quit my job, but for after my return I already have a new offer from an employer that I will probably accept. Do I still have to register as unemployed?

The advantage in Germany is that you do not have to register as unemployed. However, if you are not sure whether the job offer is still available after your trip, you can register as unemployed to secure your claim. If you then go into a job seamlessly, you do not need to make use of this entitlement. If the job offer does not work out or if you decide to change your mind, you have secured your claim. Hence our recommendation for a registration of at least one day. But there is no compulsion.


Example 5:

I was a pupil/student last, am I entitled to unemployment benefits?

Only if you fulfil the eligibility period of the last 24 months. That is, you have been employed for at least 360 days within the last 24 months and are subject to social insurance contributions.


Example 6:

Is there a claim to ALG1 if I was in training or a dual study programme?

Yes, because you were in an employment relationship subject to social insurance contributions and if you fulfil the eligibility requirements see example 5.


Who can advise me more detailed

Depending on the individual constellation, there may be more things to consider, so I strongly advise you to make an appointment with the Agentur für Arbeit and discuss your individual case. Then you can go to New Zealand without worrying about it! As so often plans like to change during the trip, it would be a pity if you lost your claim to unemployment benefit 1 unnecessarily after a great trip due to planning mistakes.


Questions or comments

Do you have any questions on this particular topic or is something unclear to you? Then please write us a comment under this article!



Situations are different in every country and things change within time. So, this is just our personal opinion and things might be different when you read our article. Thanks for your understanding.


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