In the comments1 to this answer: Badly designed reimbursement form. What does that say about the company? I had yesterday an discussion where another user claimed by §670 BGB companys are in Germany legally required to reimburse any justified expenses the interviewee had to participate the interview. If this is not what §670 BGB says and the claim is wrong, that would answer my question, too. But for this post I first assume that it is true.

So given that, I am wondering, why the german "Agentur für Arbeit" (which is an government organization AFAIK) has the following procedure, I went trhoguh multiple times (This happened exclusively with small companys, where I could understand they might try to get around additional expanses, tho):

  • I applied for a position and got an invite for an job interview (No mention of reimbursement in any way)
  • I forwarded the invite via email to the "Agentur für Arbeit" what is an requirement for them reimbursing me my expenses
  • I had the interviews, and handed my proofs of expanses to the "Agentur für Arbeit"
  • They requested me to hand them a written statement of the company that the company is not going to reimburse me any expenses.
  • The company usually had already such a writing prepared and just sent it to me.
  • The "Agentur für Arbeit" reimburse my expenses

So my question is:

Why would the "Agentur für Arbeit" openly support this behavior and why the companys are willing to hand out without hesitation such a written statement, if it was contradicting with the requirement by §670 BGB?

1 Comment transcript:

Also companies are legally required to reimburse travelexpenses for interviews in Germany. – Nacorid

@Nacorid: Definitely they are not! When I was supported by a social agency in Germany every time I wanted them (the agency) to reimburse my travel expanses, I had to hand in a written statement of the company that interviewed me, that they are not reimbursing any expanses I had. If they were legally required to, this whole process would be a farce. The only reason why most company's do it anyways, is cause they can hand in this reimbursement for their taxes. But they don't have to. – Zaibis

@Zaibis §670 BGB clearly states that they are required to if they invite you for an interview, even if you do not get or accept any job offer – Nacorid

Unless they clearly communicated, in writing for their safety, before the interview took place, that they are not going to reimburse travelexpenses – Nacorid

@Nacorid: But can we actually consider an job interview being a contract? As I understand §670 BGB refering to actions been taken within a contract. Not a lawyer, tho. – Zaibis

@Zaibis Not a lawyer either, however I’m not sure that contract would be an appropriate translation, since the law is talking about “Auftrag” which in the case of an interview would be the interviewee (“Beauftragter”) traveling to (“Auftrag”) the interviewer (“Auftraggeber”) for the interview (“Auftrag”). There have been numerous cases of denying reimbursement which were almost all ruled in favor of the candidate as long as the travel costs were reasonable. By which they for example mean “not a 1. class plane/train ticket for the role of a project manager” – Nacorid

@Nacorid: In that case I still wonder, why the "Agentur für Arbeit" is willing to reimburse, for the company, as long, as you get a written (after requesting it) statement of the company, that they aren't willing to pay the travel expanses, given they were required by law to do so. That would mean, I got last year by at least 5 company's a written statement in which they confirmed, they don't respect German law. That sounds weird to me. – Zaibis

@Zaibis That is because it is perfectly legal to declare beforehand that there will be no reimbursement and there might also be legal intricacies about “Arbeitslose” which I am not aware of – Nacorid

@Nacorid I didnt say it was beforehand: The process was in at least 5 cases as following: I got an invite for an interview after applying (no mentioning of travel expanses) I accepted, informed the agency about the invite by forwarding the email. I had the interview, asked the agency for reimbursment and they asked me to provide a written statement by the company that they are not gonna reimburse me. I understand why the company would try getting around such a law. But not why a governor organisation would support the companys with it. Know what? I am gonna ask about this tomorrow on lawSE :) – Zaibis

1 Answer 1


What §670 BGB basically says is that the default is that companies have to reimburse you for expenses that you incurred for interviewing with them. If they don't want to reimburse you, they have to tell you so in writing before you incur any costs. That way it's your decision if you still want to go if you have to pay for expenses yourself.

It does not mean your expenses have to be paid, it means you should know beforehand whether they will be paid.

So what I take from your story is that you never actually asked the company for reimbursement, expecting the Agentur für Arbeit to pay that for you. Well, no company is going to pay your expenses if you don't ask for it. And that's not a crime. You also never told the Agentur für Arbeit that you were not informed beforehand that your expenses would not be paid. They asked for proof, you delivered proof. It's not their job to find out how or when you got handed this written statement and if that constitutes a violation of §670.

And as a little reality check: paying your expenses (probably something along the lines of a cab fare or bus ticket?) is way more cost effective for the AA than suing a small company for the same amount. Just the time of the lawyer filing the suit will probably cost more than your public transportation ticket for the next year.

  • +1 for putting into words what I could not. +10 for pointing out that communication is key for reimbursement. You wouldn't happen to know how far back one can ask for reimbursement? (Purely hypothetical)
    – Nacorid
    Feb 22, 2019 at 15:50
  • "You also never told the Agentur für Arbeit that you were not informed beforehand that your expenses would not be paid." I get your point. In my case, the interviews were a few times all across the country, so the reimbursement was a few times in the range of a few hundred euros, and not just like a bus ticket. But I had not in mind, that this most likely is more of an exception rather than the usual case they deal with. Yep, that makes sense to me.
    – Zaibis
    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .