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Labour office job offers: Which jobs do you have to accept and which jobs can you turn down?

12th June 2024

We explain how you as a job seeker can deal with the offers from the employment office

Looking for a new job can be a challenge, especially if you are registered as unemployed and receive support from the job centre. In this situation, many people are faced with the question: Which jobs do I have to accept from the job centre and which can I turn down?

To answer this complex question, it is important to understand the legal framework and the individual circumstances of each person. In this text, we will look at which criteria are relevant when assessing the reasonableness of job offers and what consequences the rejection of a job can have.

Reasonable job offers

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 following criteria:

  • Type of job: The job offered must match the jobseeker's skills, knowledge and experience.

  • Place of work: The place of work must not be so far away from the place of residence that the daily journey to and from the place of work by public transport is unreasonable.

  • Working hours: The working hours must comply with the statutory regulations and must not be disproportionately long.

  • Remuneration: Pay must be at least the minimum wage and reasonable.

  • Health requirements: The requirements for the jobseeker's physical and mental capacity must not be exceeded.

Unreasonable job offers

However, there are also cases in which a job offer is considered unreasonable and can therefore be rejected. These include

Offers below the minimum wage: an offer of work where the pay is below the statutory minimum wage is generally unreasonable.

  • Offers with disproportionately long working hours: Working hours that significantly exceed the statutory maximum working hours may be unreasonable, especially if there is no guarantee of sufficient rest between working days.

  • Offers with unreasonable working conditions: Working conditions that jeopardise the health or safety of the jobseeker are unreasonable. This may be the case, for example, in the case of hazardous activities without adequate protective measures or in the case of severe mental stress.

  • Offers that hinder reintegration into the labour market: Offers that hinder the jobseeker's professional development or reduce the chances of finding a job that matches their qualifications may be unreasonable.

Consequences of rejecting a job offer

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


When assessing the reasonableness of job offers, it is important to make an individual assessment. Both the criteria of the job centre and the jobseeker's personal circumstances must be taken into account. In case of doubt, legal advice should be sought in order to know the possible consequences of a rejection.

You can find additional information here:

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