Companies are free to offer fixed-term contracts. Such fixed-term contracts expire automatically on a specific date. A dismissal is not required to terminate this type of contract (unless the contract needs to be terminated before expiring). It is for the employer to decide whether to renew the contract or not.
Fixed-term contracts are generally limited to a maximum of two years. A fixed-term contract may be extended up to three times provided the total duration of contract does not exceed the maximum of two years.
A limited six months contract can be extended three times for a further six months (for a total duration of 24 months).
During the first four years of a company’s existence in Germany, employment contracts may be limited or extended several times up to a total duration of four years.