The Workplace in Germany

The Workplace in Germany

When working in Germany it is important to know what taxes as well as other fees you will be obligated to pay.

Income tax is the big one. All those who are working in Germany are subjected to income tax. Income tax starts at a little of 8% and rises to between 42 and 45 percent depending on your salary.

Solidarity tax. Accounts for 5.5 percent of ones income tax.

For those who are a part of a church, you will be expected to pay Church tax which is between 8 and 9 percent of your income. The difference in the percentage is based on the state that you are living in.

If you are married, a joint tax return may work in your favor

Social Security contributions are also something that you will have to pay when working in Germany. These costs are split between the individual and his or her employer. The employee pays half and the employer pays the other half. Social security contributions are typically deducted from your salary and paid to the government by the employer.

The Social Security Contributions include:

  • Rentenversicherung: Pension Insurance
  • Krankenversicherung: Health Insurance
  • Pflegeversicherung: Nursing Insurance
  • Arbeitslosenversicherung: Unemployment Insurance

Though paying these costs may seem like a burden at first, they may come in handy at some point during your life in Germany. There are benefits available to help you with rough patches, which are what a large portion of the taxes cover. These include: Wohngeld which is there for those who can’t cover housing costs, Kindergeld received by those with children 8 years and under, Mutterschaftsgeld for those who are employed and are pregnant and have just had a baby, Arbeitslosenversicherung providing you with a portion of your previous salary when you have lost your job.

Once you have secured a job in Germany you are typically put in a three to six month trial period where the employer will decide if you really are the right person for the job. Provided they have a viable reason not to continue with you, you may be released from the company with a two week’s notice.

If you are planning on resigning, you are required to notify the company four weeks prior to the beginning of the next month.

How much will you be expected to work?

Most full time jobs carry on for up to forty eight hours a week with Fridays typically being a shorter workday. Most businesses in Germany close on a Sunday and thus this will generally be a day off for you. You will also receive vacation days, which varies between twenty and thirty days per year depending on the company you work for. In the case of an illness, you will be paid sick leave which covers your entire salary for six weeks. Provided you are missing from work for a longer duration of time, the costs will be covered by your health insurance. This however, will not be your full salary as insurances usually only pay up to seventy percent of your salary.


Saskia Petz

Tanja Traut

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