German Workplace

Now that you have your work permit and a job in the German Workplace, you will find that German companies take very good care of their employees: it is the law!

But, before being a "real" employee, there usually is a 3 to 6 month probation period during which an employee might be fired with 2 weeks to 1 month notice. After this probation period in the German workplace, it becomes more and more difficult for the employer to fire the employee and the notification period also extends up to 7 months for a long time employee (20 years or more).

Germany's working week is 38.5 hours for full time employment and some companies finish the week quite early on Friday afternoons. You will also find that German companies are much more generous when the time comes for vacation: minimum of 18 working days per year, as required by the law. And some firms offer much more than that, up to 30 working days per year, which adds up to about 6 weeks per year of paid vacation.

Paid sick leave is also pretty good; first 6 weeks with full salary and then 70% of your last salary to be paid by your health insurance until you go back to work or take your retirement.

Maternity and paternity leave is also generous in in the German workplace: 6 weeks of full pay for mothers before the child's birth and then 8 weeks of full pay afterwards. 12 weeks in case of twins. And then, the parents, mother or father, are allowed up to 3 years leave without pay.

There is also a direct subsidy for new parents called Elterngeld, meaning "parents money".

If you work for a German company you will have to pay German income taxes but also some premiums for public health care, long term nursing care, unemployment insurance and retirement plans. Your employer will contribute about half of these premiums, and you will pay the other half. Altogether, counting both income tax and these other premiums, most people can expect to pay about 40% of their salary. As for work accident insurance, it is paid for entirely by the employer and the social indemnity (for war veterans, war widows and orphans, soldiers with health problems and victims of violent crime) is paid by the government.

But, as the German tax system is quite complicated and since it will affect you as a foreigner working in a German workplace, you should really ask an accountant.

Go to health care for more info on the subject of health insurance.

When it is time to retire, your pension insurance will make sure that you can continue to live a decent life. The payments are about 70% of your average net income before retirement and they usually start at 65 years of age. It is possible to receive pensions from different countries at the same time, and if you do end up working in Germany, you can expect to receive a German pension after you have retired even if you are living outside of Germany at that time.

If you lose your job after having worked for at least one year during the previous two years, you might be eligible for unemployment insurance. To apply so, you must go to the labour office, called Arbeitsamt, fill out a form and agree to accept a job they might find for you in your field. You must also check with them regularly.

Unemployment insurance is usually about 67% of your most recent salary if you have a child, or 60 % if you don't. The insurance continues for one year if you are under 55, and up to 18 months if you are older. After that period, you can receive state assistance of 345 euros per months plus some money for housing and other expenses. It is also possible you will get less or nothing at all if you have other means of support, or if your spouse or your parents work.

For more detailed information of the subject, and regular updates, go to the German government site: German "Arbeitsamt", unfortunately available only in German.
Good luck!

To learn more about the work place in Germany and about How to Relocate painlessly in this beautiful country, click on the eBook at the right!

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