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Labour office job offers: What is the maximum number of jobs you can turn down?

13th June 2024

An overview of the factors that influence whether you can turn down a job offer from the employment office.

There is no clear answer to the question of the maximum number of jobs that can be rejected by the job centre. This is because the number of reasonable rejections depends on various factors, such as the duration of unemployment, the jobseeker's qualifications and the availability of job offers in the region.

Basic regulations

According to the German Social Code (SGB III) § 140, unemployed persons are obliged to accept all reasonable job offers. An offer is considered reasonable if it fulfils the above criteria (type of job, place of work, working hours, pay, health requirements).

Number of refusals

The law does not specify an exact number of reasonable rejections. However, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) has stipulated in its internal guidelines that, as a rule, three rejections within six months are acceptable. After the third rejection, the BA must examine the reasonableness of any further offer in detail.


However, there are also cases in which more than three rejections are possible. This applies, for example, if:

  • Unemployment is very short: In the first three months of unemployment, the BA is generally more generous in its assessment of reasonableness.

  • The jobseeker's qualifications are very high: Highly qualified jobseekers may find it more difficult to accept a job that is significantly below their qualification level.

  • There are no suitable vacancies: If there are no suitable job offers available in the jobseeker's region, the BA may accept the rejection of an offer that does not fully meet the reasonableness criteria.

Consequences of rejection

The rejection of a job offer placed by the job centre may have consequences. If the BA judges the rejection to be unjustified, it can reduce or even stop unemployment benefit payments altogether. In individual cases, unemployment benefit may also be suspended.

Blocking of unemployment benefit

Unemployment benefit can be blocked for up to three months. In particularly serious cases, the suspension can even last twelve months.


To avoid sanctions by the BA, you should follow these tips:

  • Check every job offer carefully for its reasonableness.

  • Justify your rejection to the BA in writing and in a valid manner.

  • Make an active effort to find a new job, even if the offer does not meet your requirements.

  • Take part in qualification measures to improve your chances on the labour market.

  • If in doubt, seek legal advice.


There is no general answer to the question of the maximum number of jobs you can be turned down by the job centre. It is important to consider the individual circumstances of each case. If in doubt, you should always contact the BA or consult a lawyer specialising in social law.

It is important to note that this is only a general overview of the topic and does not constitute legal advice. In individual cases, you should always consult a lawyer or another competent organisation.

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