Working in Germany

Looking for a job?  Are you unemployed or threatened with unemployment?  Read about the "Agentur für Arbeit" (Job Centre) here: 

At work

Got a job already? 

Have you got all the insurances you need?  Are you contributing to the state pension?  Would you like to supplement this pension?  Make sure you have an occupational disability insurance.  Find out further information in this website about insurances.


You have the right...

Every employee has basic rights specified by law. Others can be prescribed by a collective agreement or an individual employment contract. The minimum rights all employees have include the right:

... to have paid holidays.

... to receive maternity leave.

... to get paid on public holidays or in the case of sickness (at least for 6 weeks).

... to get written information on the main conditions of the employment contract.

... to be protected against unfair dismissals (as well as to be given a minimum period of notice). 


Salary, social security contributions and taxes

Your employment contract will generally specify your gross salary (Ger. "Gehalt").  Taxes and social contributions are deducted from this by your employer.  These will be listed in detail in your salary slip (Ger. "Gehaltsabrechnung").

The social security contributions (Ger. "Sozialabgaben") include health, accident, unemployment, old age and nursing insurances.  The amount paid is proportional to your income level and is shared between the employer and the employee.  Your contributions will be automatically deducted and the total amount will be transferred to the relevant insurance companies by your employer.

The payroll tax (Ger. "Lohnsteuer") is also deducted automatically and the amount depends on your gross income and family status.  Every year you will have to present an income tax return (Ger. "Einkommensteuererklärung") to the tax office (Ger. "Finanzamt") in order to offset all your income (including interest, rental income, foreign income, etc) and tax allowances against the taxes which have already been paid.  This is the "Einkommensteuer", which may result in a rebate or you may have to pay more tax.  To help you prepare the tax return, it is advisable to consult an income tax association (Ger. "Lohnsteuerverein"), a tax consultant or the finance offices themselves.

Church tax (Ger. "Kirchensteuer") is mandatory for members of the Catholic and Protestant Churches.  Other religions don´t pay church tax.

Gross-net salary calculator for Germany

Use this gross-net salary calculator to work out your net salary. 

Problems at work?

You're not sure if your salary conforms with the collective pay agreements.  Do you have the right to get a Christmas Bonus?  Do you have problems with other work colleagues? In all these cases you can go to the works council (Ger. "Betriebsrat"). Their job is to liaise between you and your employer or other employees.

Cancellation and protection against dismissal

You have the right of protection against dismissal if the employment was longer than 6 months and the business you are working in has more than 10 employees. In this case, your employer cannot cancel the employment for no reason; it must be justified by your behaviour, personal capability or redundancy. And, the works council must be consulted before any cancellation. In some cases, they have the right to veto the dismissal.

Pregnant women, trainees and severely disabled people enjoy a special protection against dismissal.

Unemployment benefits

As an employee, you will be paying an unemployment insurance.  On becoming unemployed, register with the "Arbeitsamt" (Job Centre) to receive the benefits.