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Useful information for employees

A persistent upward trend is evident in the labour market in Saxony. The total number of jobs in Saxony as a whole is rising, and the number of unemployed persons has declined markedly.

Currently, employers in Saxony are looking for skilled personnel in a number of different economic sectors. You have especially good prospects of finding a job in the hotel and gastronomy industry, the electrical and metals industries, in the field of health-care and nursing, in logistics and in production. Current job openings in Saxony are listed at:

Good German-language skills are advantageous. The better your command of the German language the better able you are to protect yourself against discrimination and exploitation and communicate with government authorities. That also enhances your chances of finding a better job.

If you would like to live and work in Saxony, you should attend a German language course in your home country. That is often the most affordable option. However, a number of organizations in Saxony (Volkshochschulen, the Goethe-Institut in Dresden, language schools and private service providers, etc.) also offer courses in German.  

Citizens of the EU are not required to obtain a permit to work in Germany of Saxony. They have free access to the German labour market.

If you are a citizen of a so-called third country (i.e. you are not a citizen of a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area or Switzerland), and wish to remain in Germany for an extended period of time, you must obtain a residence permit. To obtain a residence permit, you need to meet certain general prerequisites. Among other things, you must have a passport and be able to pay your living expenses during your stay, and there must be no demonstrable grounds for deporting you. The decision regarding the type of residence permit you will be issued depends on the purpose of your intended stay in Germany as well as your training/educational background and your vocational qualifications.

Further information is provided at:

As a citizen of the EU, you have the right to enter and reside in Germany (or Saxony). You do not need a residence permit or a visa. All you need is a personal ID card or passport.

Every citizen of the EU has the unrestricted right to reside in another EU Member State for an initial 3-month period.

If you stay longer than 3 months, the following provisions apply:

Employed and self-employed persons have an unrestricted right to reside in Germany.

Individuals seeking employment are permitted to stay in Germany for more than 6 months as long as they continue to look for employment in Germany (or Saxony) and have reasonable prospects of finding work.

In any event, you are entitled to remain in Germany (or Saxony) as an unemployed citizen of the EU for an unlimited period of time, provided you have sufficient resources to cover your living expenses and are covered by health insurance.

Caution! Regardless of the above, you are required to register in Germany. If you stay in Germany or move into a house or apartment, you must register with the local community administration within 7 days.

Further information on this topic is provided at:

Citizens of countries outside the EU ordinarily require a visa. If you have a visa, you may enter Germany and your visa will be converted locally into a residence permit in accordance with the purpose of your stay in Germany. An exception to this rule applies to citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the USA. They are entitled to enter Germany without a visa and apply for a residence permit before starting work. You may apply to the immigration authority in your city for a residence period immediately after entering Germany only if you are a citizen of one of these countries.

If you work in Germany temporarily for more than 183 days, you are required to pay income tax in Germany. You or your employer must register with the local office of the German Tax Authority (Finanzamt).

A cross-border worker is an individual who is employed or works in a self-employed capacity in an EU/EEA Member State and lives in a different Member State to which he or she returns daily or at least once per week (Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004).

In principle, cross-border workers are subject to the labour laws of the country in which they work. They have an employment contract with an employer in the country in which they are employed. Their employer is obliged to comply with the statutory regulations and provisions of the country of employment as well as applicable collective bargaining agreements. In certain cases, the parties may agree to specify that the employment relationship is subject to the labour laws of another country, but several German laws and regulations must be observed nonetheless, such as the Minimum Wage Act and occupational safety regulations.

Employees within a given organization are regarded as equal. Labour laws apply to all employees, regardless of nationality, ethnic origin or place of residence.  

However, you should be aware of the need to observe certain rules on the coordination of social security matters within the EU/EEA. 

Health and social-security insurance – As a matter of principle, you are insured in the country in which you work. Some benefits can be claimed at your place of residence. Cross-border commuters and their co-insured relatives who are covered by statutory health insurance in the country of employment may claim benefits in the country of employment and the country of residence in cases of illness. To do so, you must request Form S1 (formerly E106) for each insured and co-insured person from the appropriate health insurer.

(These coordination rules apply to statutory health insurers, but not necessarily to private health insurers!)

Family benefits – Cross-border commuters are entitled to receive family benefits in the country in which they are employed. Entitlements may also exist in the country of residence, depending on the specific situation of the family and the other parent’s occupational status.

Unemployment – Cross-border commuters are entitled to claim unemployment compensation in their country of residence. They are required to submit evidence of the periods during which they have been covered by insurance abroad. When applying in your country of residence, you must submit Form U1. You will need to request this form from the local office of the Agentur für Arbeit in the state of Saxony.

Social security (old-age pension) insurance – All cross-border commuters who have paid social security contributions for more than one year are eligible to receive pension benefits. The amounts of their partial pensions are calculated on the basis of their paid contributions and periods of insurance coverage.

Important! Retain all documents relating to employment abroad for safekeeping!

Further information on this subject is provided at:

Everyone who lives and works in Germany is subject to German law.

Workers and members of their families who live in the German State of Saxony are required to pay their social security and health-insurance contributions there.

Please remember to register yourself and your family members with the appropriate local authority within one week of your arrival.

If you wish to look for work first, register with the local office of the Agentur für Arbeit (Federal Labour Office, BAA) as a person seeking employment.

Further details regarding health insurance, social security and entitlements to social security benefits are provided in the respective sections.

Further information about this topic is provided at:

Seasonal labour is precisely defined. It is possible only for a period of six months per calendar year and only in the following sectors of the economy:

  • Agriculture and forestry
  • The hotel, restaurant and catering sector
  • Fruit and vegetable processing
  • Sawmills

From 1 January 2020, the minimum wage for seasonal labour is € 9,35/hr.

Individuals who work in the hotel, restaurant and catering sector, in agriculture or at Christmas markets for less than 70 days in a given year are not covered by social security or unemployment insurance. However, this applies only to those who work occasionally in a non-professional capacity, and who do not earn more than the maximum wage for minimal employment (450 euros per month). In other words, wages from such work must not be sufficient to cover a person’s living expenses.

You may be seasonally employed as a cross-border worker, although many employers also offer overnight accommodations. Before leaving your home country, you should find out whether accommodations will be available and, if so, how much you will have to pay for them.

Temporary employment involves a triangular relationship between an employer (temporary employment agency), an employee (temporary agency worker) and the company to which the employee is assigned. The employee signs an employment contract with a temporary employment agency or personnel service provider.

Individuals employed as temporary agency workers do not necessarily receive a »temporary employment contract«. As a rule such temporary agency workers are given an employment contract of unlimited duration.

The temporary employment agency then assigns the temporary agency worker to a company that currently needs additional personnel. Thus temporary agency workers do not perform duties for their employers, but for the companies to which they are assigned on loan. Thus we speak of loan work or employee lending.

On the other hand, many companies take advantage of temporary employment arrangements to find qualified workers, without having to hire them permanently. When an assignment ends, the employee returns to the employer who assigned him/her on loan. That is always the temporary employment agency, which is invested with all rights and obligations. The agency grants and pays leave, pays social security contributions and wage taxes and is required to comply with all applicable labour and social welfare laws – even during periods in which the temporary agency worker is not on assignment.

The relationship between personnel service providers and the companies to which workers are assigned is subject to the provisions of the Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz (Employee Lending Law, AÜG). Most temporary employment agencies also operate under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.

Further information on this topic is provided at:

The work of employment agencies and job-placement specialists is devoted to helping individuals seeking employment find jobs. It may be performed in a private or public context.

Most job-placement specialists in Germany are employed at government employment agencies, such as local state labour offices, job centres operated by the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Labour Office, BAA) and organizations known as »Optionskommunen«. Others work as employees or adjunct specialists for private job-placement firms.

Job-placement specialists in civil service advise unemployed individuals and other people seeking advice in such matters as job openings in the labour market, and inform them about opportunities for employment, further training and education, other benefits available in accordance with the German Social Insurance Code (SGB) and support for business start-ups.

Private job-placement specialists work on behalf of individuals who are seeking employment (job-seekers as well as those interested in changing jobs), on the one hand, and for business enterprises and institutions interested in hiring new personnel, on the other. Fees for their work or services may be paid by job-seekers themselves, by employers or by the government (e.g. the Bundesagentur für Arbeit). Private job-placement specialists also place job-seekers in return for placement coupons issued by the Bundesagentur für Arbeit in accordance with Art. 45, paragraph 4, sentence 3 no. 2 of SGB III.  The coupons represent a value of €2,000 (or € 2,500 in specifically defined exceptional cases).

Caution! Some private job-placement specialists will place you only if you have a placement coupon. If you cannot present a coupon, the placement specialist may demand a commission for his/her services. You are not entitled to receive a placement coupon unless you are registered as unemployed with the Agentur für Arbeit in Germany. You are also not entitled if you are an unemployed cross-border worker or are still employed. It is then up to you to decide whether or not you wish to take advantage of the services provided by a private job-placement specialist and pay the corresponding commission.

Under certain conditions, ALG I recipients have a legal right to receive a placement coupon. ALG II recipients, on the other hand, have no legal claim to the issue of a placement coupon.

Caution! Protect against potential fraud. There are also a number of disreputable or untrustworthy job-placement specialists and agencies in the market – not only in Germany, but in your home country as well. Keep in mind that every personnel and placement agency in your country of residence must be in possession of a job-placement or employee-lending permit and be registered in the national register. Check the national register in your country of residence.

Mini jobs are part-time jobs. There are two types of mini jobs:

  • 450-euro mini jobs are low-paying jobs. The important criterion is that an individual holding a mini job of this type earns no more than 450 euros per month on a regular basis. People with mini jobs usually work on a regular schedule. Their status does not depend on a certain number of hours per week or the number of days worked per month.
  • Short-term mini jobs are another form of temporary employment. Individuals with this type of mini job work no more than three months (or a total of 70 days) in a single calendar year. They do not work on a regular schedule, but only occasionally. Their status is not defined by the amount of money they earn.

If you have a mini job in Germany, you are not insured and have only a small pension entitlement. Employers of people with mini jobs pay nominal social security contributions but as an employee you are not covered by health, nursing-care or unemployment insurance. In other words, you are not entitled to receive benefits! Consult with your social security insurer to find out which country is responsible for your insurance in order to ensure that accepting a mini job in Germany will have no negative consequences for you.

Further information is provided at:

An employment contract does not necessarily have to be set down in writing, but the employer is legally obliged to set down the essential contractual conditions in writing, sign them and hand them over to the employee no later than one month after the agreed commencement of the employment relationship.

The contract must contain the following information:

  1. The names and addresses of both parties to the contract
  2. The beginning date and duration of your employment
  3. The type of work and a brief description of your duties
  4. The workplace location (or a specification that you can be assigned to work at different locations)
  5. The amount of your wage or salary (usually your gross pay), including allowances, bonuses, premiums and special payments as well as other components of your gross pay and a specification of when these components are due
  6. The number of hours you are expected to work in accordance with the contract
  7. Your leave entitlement
  8. Notice periods for termination of employment
  9. References to applicable collective bargaining agreements and company or service agreements which apply to the employment relationship

Your employment relationship may be limited or unlimited in time. If you have concluded a limited-time employment contract, you will not receive a notice of termination at a specified point in time; instead, your employment relationship will end automatically on the specified date of expiration. This is known as limited-time employment, because the contract expires on a certain date. We also refer to it as a fixed-term employment contract.

Employers are permitted by law to limit the term of an employment contract to a period of up to two years without specification of cause. Such fixed-term employment contracts may also be extended up to three times within the total two-year period.

Limited-time employment is not permissible in cases in which an employee has previously worked for a given employer under a fixed-term or unlimited-term employment contract.  

Fixed-term employment contracts must always be concluded in writing. If a term-limitation agreement is not concluded in written form (but rather in electronic form or under notarial supervision), only the term limitation, and not the entire employment contract, is regarded as null and void. Thus the employment contract as such is valid, namely as an unlimited-term contract.

Further information on this topic is provided at:

You have the right to be paid for your work!

Minimum wages have been established in Germany. This means that an employer is not permitted under any circumstances to pay less than the applicable minimum wage. Wage and salary amounts are either specified in collective bargaining agreements or negotiated with employers. The same also applies to special benefits, such as a 13th monthly salary.

There is a general statutory minimum wage of 9,35 € gross per hour worked, which the employer is not allowed to undercut. The only exceptions are young people under the age of 18, certain interns, trainees and individuals registered in Germany as long-term unemployed persons.

Minimum wages that are usually higher than the statutory minimum wage have been set for certain jobs and economic sectors on the basis of collective bargaining agreements (e.g. for workers in the primary construction industry, electricians, building cleaning personnel, nursing-care providers, etc.).

The following statutory minimum wages apply in accordance with the laws regarding employee lending and posting (Arbeitnehmerentsendegesetz and Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz) beginning 1 January 2020.

  from / to East West Berlin
Economic sector   €/h €/h €/h
Occupation/compensation group        
         
General statutory minimum wage 01/2020-12/2020 9,35 9,35 9,35
Waste management 10/2019-09/2020 10,00 10,00 10,00
  10/2020-09/2021 10,25 10,25 10,25
  10/2021-09/2022 10,45 10,45 10,45
Training and continuing education        
Pedagogical employees 01/2020-12/2020 16,19 16,19 16,19
  01/2021-12/2021 16,68 16,68 16,68
  01/2022-12/2022 17,18 17,18 17,18
Pedagogical employees holding BA degree 01/2020-12/2020 16,39 16,39 16,39
  01/2021-12/2021 17,02 17,02 17,02
  01/2022-12/2022 17,70 17,70 17,70
Primary construction industry        
Workers 04/2019-12/2019 12,20 12,20 12,20
  04/2020-12/2020 12,55 12,55 12,55
Skilled workers 03/2019-12/2019 12,20 15,20 15,05
  04/2020-12/2020 12,55 15,40 15,25
Roofing trade        
Unskilled workers 01/2020-09/2021 12,40 12,40 12,40
  10/2021-12/2021 12,60 12,60 12,60
Tradesmen 01/2020-09/2021 13,60 13,60 13,60
  10/2021-12/2021 14,10 14,10 14,10
         
Electrical industry (installation)
For all employees, as far as they carry out electrical and information technology activities.
  01/2020-12/2020 11,90 11,90 11,90
 
01/2021-12/2021 12,40 12,40 12,40
  01/2022-12/2022 12,90 12,90 12,90
  01/2023-12/2023 13,40 13,40 13,40
  01/2024-12/2024 13,95 13,95 13,95
Building cleaning        
Interior and maintenance cleaning 01/2020-11/2020 10,55 10,80 10,80
  12/2020-12/2020 10,80 10,80 10,80
Glass and facade cleaning 01/2020-11/2020 13,50 14,10 14,10
  12/2020-12/2020 14,10 14,10 14,10
Money and valuables services        
Money and valuables transport 01/2020-12/2020 14,42

je nach
Bundes-
land

14,42
Cash processing 01/2020-12/2020 12,16 12,16
Scaffolding crafts 07/2019-07/2020 11,88 11,88 11,88
Painters and varnishers        
Unskilled workers 05/2019-04/2020 10,85 10,85 10,85
  05/2020-04/2021 11,10 11,10 11,10
Tradesmen 05/2019-04/2020 12,95 13,30 13,30
  05/2020-04/2021 13,50 13,50 13,50
Nursing care sector        
nursing assistants 01/2020-06/2020 10,85 11,35 11,35
  07/2020-03/2021 11,20 11,60 11,60
  04/2021-08/2021 11,50 11,80 11,80
  09/2021-03/2022 12,00 12,00 12,00
  ab 04/2022 12,55 12,55 12,55
Qualified nursing assistants
(at least 1 year of training and corresponding activity)
04/2021-08/2021 12,20 12,50 12,50
  09/2021-03/2022 12,50 12,50 12,50
  ab 04/2020 13,20 13,20 13,20
Nurses 07/2021-03/2022 15,00 15,00 15,00
  ab 04/2022 15,40 15,40 15,40
Chimney sweeps 10/2018-12/2020 13,20 13,20 13,20
Stonemasonry and stone sculpture 09/2019-04/2020 11,85 11,85 11,85
  05/2020-04/2021 12,20 12,20 12,20
Temporary employment 10/2019-03/2020 9,66 9,96 9,66
  04/2020-09/2020 9,88 10,15 9,88
  10/2020-03/2021 10,10 10,15 10,10
  04/2021-03/2022 10,45 10,45 10,45
  04/2022-03/2023 10,88 10,88 10,88

Your wage/salary must be paid no later than the middle of the following month and is ordinarily transferred to your bank account. You may open an account at any bank. Your employer is required to issue you a wage and tax statement each month showing how much you have earned and the amounts that have been deducted for taxes and insurance. Income taxes are paid directly to the tax authority (Finanzamt) by your employer.

In the event that your employer fails to pay your wages/salary, you should take action immediately. Issue a written notice to your employer demanding payment and proper accounting of your wages within two weeks. Your notice should contain the following information: the number of hours worked that have not been paid, the total amount owed to you by the employer and a bank account number. Do not wait too long. Certain provisions of the law specify the periods during which you are entitled to demand payment of your wages or file a claim for payment in court.  Once these periods have expired, you can no longer assert your claims against your employer. The relevant periods are indicated in your employment contract or the applicable collective bargaining agreement and in the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (Civil Code, BGB). 

Document the hours you have worked and, if possible, have your employer sign the document. Check your wage and tax statements to ensure that you have been paid the minimum wage for every hour you have worked.

Further information is provided at:

The maximum permissible duration of a probation period is six months from the date of employment. During the probation period, both parties have the right to terminate the employment relationship with two weeks’ notice, unless otherwise specified in the contract.

Trainees have minimum probation periods of 1 month and maximum probation periods of 4 months. Training contracts may be terminated without notice during the probation period.

Your employer may demand that you work on a trial basis for several days before he decides whether to give you an employment contract. Trial employment is customary and permissible but must not last for more than a week; and you may only be assigned minor tasks that are related to your prospective future job. Once you perform duties related to your prospective future job in accordance with instructions from your employer, you must also be paid for doing so.

Further information is provided at:

In Germany, the number of hours you are permitted to work is specified by law. You may work a maximum of 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week. Your daily hours may be extended to 10 as long as you do not exceed the daily average of 8 hours within a given 24-week or six-month period.

Collective bargaining agreements may provide for shorter working hours. A mandatory collective bargaining agreement for the construction industry specifies different working hours in summer and winter: 41 hours per week from April to November; 38 hours per week from December to March.

Overtime hours must be ordered and paid for by the employer. Collective bargaining agreements for certain sectors provide for overtime allowances.

Every hour during which you are available to perform duties for your employer is considered work time. That includes, for example, time spent moving material at a construction site, waiting for hotel guests to check out, taking a mandatory break at a rest stop or serving on stand-by.

You are entitled to 30 minutes of break time on days on which you work between 6 and 9 hours, and 45 minutes on days on which you work more than 9 hours. Your total break time can be divided into increments of at least 15 minutes each. Breaks do not count as work time. Employees are not permitted to work for more than 6 hours at a time without a break.

Further information is provided at:

Within the framework of statutory health, nursing-care, accident and old-age pension insurance programmes (including retirement insurance for farmers), individuals who are covered by social security insurance are entitled to receive benefits necessary for the protection, preservation, improvement and restoration of health and productivity as well as financial support in cases of illness, motherhood, reduced earning capacity and old age. Survivors of deceased insured persons are also entitled to receive financial benefits.

Social security contribution rates, 2020 Values

Health insurance
The general contribution rate provides for a mandatory minimum contribution rate of 14.6 percent (employees and employers each pay 7.3 percent).
The reduced contribution rate provides for a mandatory minimum contribution rate of 14.0 percent (employees and employers each pay 7.0 percent).
Income-based supplementary employee contributions can be set by each health insurance provider.
+X is shared equally between employee and employer.

General contribution rate
14.60% + X

Employees: 7.30%
Employers: 7.30%
Reduced contribution rate
14.0% + X

Employees: 7.00%
Employers: 7,00%

 

Nursing care insurance
The relative contributions of employees and employers in Saxony differ from those that apply in the other German states. Employees in Saxony pay a higher share than employers.

3,05%
Exceptional provision in Saxony:
Employees: 2,025%
Employers: 1,025%

 

Supplementary contributions from childless individuals for nursing-care insurance (insured persons aged 23 and above without children)
The supplementary contribution is paid by the employee alone.
 

0,25%
Old-age pension insurance
 

18.60%
Employees: 9.30%
Employers: 9.30%

Miners’ pension insurance
Employees pay contributions at the same rate that applies und the general old-age pension insurance programme. Employers must pay the remainder. Thus contributions are not shared equally under the miners’ pension insurance scheme.

24.70%
Employees: 9.30%
Employers: 15.40%

Unemployment insurance
 

 

2,40%
Employees: 1,20%
Employers: 1,20%

Citizens living in the European Union are required to obtain health insurance coverage – ordinarily where they are employed or domiciled. There are exceptions, however (see below).

People in Germany are free to select the health insurer of their choice. Distinction is made between statutory and private health insurance. As a rule, employees are covered by mandatory insurance under the statutory health insurance programme.

As soon as you know who your employer will be, you should choose a German health insurer and register for coverage, and notify your employer of the name of your health insurance provider before your employment begins. Your employer will then register you with the insurer. You will receive a health insurance number from the health insurer by mail. Once you have that number, you may visit a doctor immediately. After about 4 weeks you will also receive an insurance card, which you must present each time you visit a doctor.

Cross-border workers and their co-insured relatives who are covered by statutory health insurance in the country in which they are employed are entitled to receive health care in both the country in which they work and their country of residence. In order to claim these benefits, each insured and co-insured person must apply for Form S1 (formerly E106). The health insurer in the home country will then issue an insurance card, which entitles the holder to continue receiving the full range of medical treatments in his or her home country.

The general contribution rate specified by law is 14.6 percent of income subject to contributions. The reduced contribution rate is 14.0 percent of income subject to contributions. This rate applies for individuals who are not entitled to an illness allowance. In the case of gainfully employed persons, contributions from earned income are shared equally between the employee and the employer (each paying 7.3%). In the case of pensioners, insured individuals and old-age pension insurers each pay half of the total contribution.In addition to the general or reduced contribution rate, health insurance funds may charge an additional contribution from their members. According to the current coalition agreement, a parity contribution rate will apply from 2019. This means that in addition to the current contribution rate, which is already half financed, the employer will also pay 50 percent of the additional contribution.

Exceptional cases:

Freelancers, self-employed persons, civil servants and employees who earn at least 62.550 € gross/year or 5.212.50 € gross/month can switch to private health insurance.

 

Posted workers remain covered by health insurance in the posting country. They are issued a European Health Insurance Card and have access to all urgent, medically indicated services covered by German health insurers.

Individuals who have low-paying mini jobs and earn no more than 450 € per month (gross) are not covered by health insurance on the basis of their employment relationship. They must obtain health-insurance coverage elsewhere – through a family insurance policy, for example, or under a voluntary health insurance programme. Those who receive a supplementary unemployment allowance (Arbeitslosengeld II) are insured through the job centre. Individuals who hold two or more mini jobs and earn more than 450 € per month are required to obtain mandatory health insurance coverage.

Further information on this topic is provided at:

Accident insurance covers work-related accidents, accidents that occur on the way to and from work and occupational illnesses. All premiums are paid by the employer. The amount of coverage depends on the risk category.

You employer is required to register you with the accident insurer as soon as you start working. Every employee is insured through a trade association against accidents that occur during work or on the way to and from the workplace.

If you suffer a work-related accident, you must visit a Durchgangsarzt (a physician specialized in accident-insurance cases) in Germany and report the accident. Your employer is required to enter the accident in an accident record and report it to the trade association. If you are certified as unable to work after the accident, you are entitled to file a claim for compensation for injury, which the trade association must recognize.

In-kind benefits and financial benefits provided by accident insurance

Benefits in kind:

Medical treatment and rehabilitation (emergency treatment, outpatient medical treatment for accident victims, home nursing care, medications, etc.)

Benefits in support of occupational and social integration (vocational training programmes, socio-educational counselling, household aid, travel costs, transportation aid, housing aid, etc.)

Financial benefits:

Compensation for injury is intended to compensate for the loss of income during periods of rehabilitation and after wage or salary payments from the employer cease. It amounts to 80% of the standard compensation, but may not exceed the injured party‘s regular net wages/salary.

Injured persons are eligible to receive transitional compensation during periods of participation in vocational rehabilitation programmes, because they are unable to pay their living expenses or those of their families during such periods.

Nursing-care allowances are paid to insured individuals who need nursing care following a work-related accident or while suffering from an occupational illness. The amount of the nursing-care allowance depends on the severity of the health impairment.

Trade associations pay a pension or partial pension in cases in which a reduced capacity for gainful employment is determined as a result of a work-related accident or an accident that occurred on the way to or from the workplace. The amount of the pension entitlement depends on the degree to which the person’s ability to work is impaired and his or her prior income. 

Lump-sum settlement – Pension entitlements may be covered in the form of a lump-sum payment under certain circumstances.

The spouse, registered life partner and children of a deceased victim of a work-related accident or occupational disease become eligible to receive a survivor’s pension on the date of the injured party’s death.

A lump-sum death benefit is paid to survivors of the victim of a work-related accident or occupational disease. In 2020, this benefit amounts to 5.160 € (eastern German states)/ 5.460 € (western German states). Under certain circumstances, the costs of transporting the remains to the place of burial may be covered.

Further information is provided at:

Regardless of whether you are a cross-border worker or whether you live in Germany, you are subject to the obligation to be insured in the country in which you work.

Your employer is required to register you for pension insurance coverage. You will receive a social security insurance number, which you must be sure to keep safely. Your number remains the same even if you change employers.

Mobile workers are entitled to an old-age pension once they have reached the age limit for retirement in Germany and meet the general requirement of a five-year qualifying period. Treaties concluded among EU Member States provide for mutual recognition of the qualifying periods of other Member States. This means that a person becomes entitled to receive a pension in Germany even without having worked and paid social security contributions in Germany for a full five years. Periods of employment in other countries must be added in order to reach a total of at least five years. However, the German Pension Insurance Fund (Deutsche Rentenversicherung) pays only the amount of pension earned while working in Germany.

Contribution rates: pension insurance: 18.6%; miners’ pension insurance: 24.7%

Further information is provided at:

In accordance with the Entgeltfortzahlungsgesetz (Continued Remuneration Act), employed persons covered by mandatory social security insurance are entitled to continued payment of wages/salaries or wage-replacement benefits (illness benefits or injury benefits) during periods of inability to work.

If you are ill or have suffered a work-related accident, you are eligible to receive illness benefits from your health insurer during the first four weeks of employment. Beginning on the first day after the end of this 4-week period, your employer is required by law to continue paying your wages or salary for up to 6 weeks  (100% of lost income is covered). After the end of this 6-week period, you will receive illness benefits from your health insurer (70% of gross earnings; a maximum of 90% of net earnings).

You are required to report your inability to work to your employer immediately. If you are unable to work for more than three calendar days, you must submit a physician’s certificate of illness (Krankenschein oder sick note) no later than the fourth day. A copy of the certificate must be submitted to your health insurer within one week. If no certificate is submitted to the health insurer, you will lose your entitlement to illness benefits! The employer may request a certificate from the first day.

Cross-border workers may continue to consult physicians in their countries of residence (on the basis of the S1 Form, which has now replaced the old E106 Form). A certificate of illness will also be accepted in the language of the country of residence. It is important to ensure that your physician records the diagnosis (diagnosis code).

Please note! Termination of employment is possible during periods of inability to work! Your employer must comply with the minimum notice period and continue to pay your wages/salary until the end of your employment if you are still unable to work or the six-week period has not expired. In that case, your health insurer will pay your illness benefits until your health is restored (a maximum of 78 weeks for the same illness). You will remain insured by your health insurer during that period. After the end of your inability to work you must register as unemployed with the Agentur für Arbeit. If you are a cross-border worker, you are required to register as unemployed with the appropriate Employment Office in your country of residence and your health insurer. Remember that you are obliged to deregister with your German insurer within 8 days.

Further information is provided at:

Wage or income tax is deducted from the wages of employed persons. Generally speaking, the taxation process involves only these deductions, which are normally made once per month, unless the employer is required to file an annual employment tax declaration or it is determined at the end of a calendar year that the employee must file an income tax return. The legal basis for taxation is the Einkommensteuergesetz (Income Tax Act, EStG).

The extent of tax liability depends on whether the employee is partially or fully liable for taxes.   

Foreign workers who are not registered as residents of Germany are regarded partially liable for taxes. Those who are registered as residents of Germany are considered fully liable for taxes. The German Income Tax Act contains a special provision for foreign employees who are partially liable for taxes and earn nearly all of their income in Germany. They may apply to be treated as fully liable for taxes and gain personal tax benefits from reclassification (if at least 90% of their earnings in a calendar year are subject to German income tax).

Employers are required to deduct income taxes from every wage or salary payment, regardless of whether an employee is classified as liable for income tax. In order to deduct the correct amount of income tax for every employee, the employer needs certain information about his employees, such as their tax class, any tax allowances they may have and membership in a religious denomination that is subject to church tax.

In order to facilitate the process of calculating their income tax, employees are assigned to one of several different tax classes on the basis of their personal circumstance. There are 6 tax classes numbered I to VI.

You must register with the appropriate local Finanzamt (Tax Authority) prior to your first period of employment. If you are employed as a cross-border worker in Germany, you need to register with the Finanzamt in the town or city in which your employer’s registered offices are located. If you are a registered resident of Germany, you should register with the Finanzamt in your town or city of residence. Application forms for classification as partially or fully liable for taxes can be obtained from the Finanzamt. Your Finanzamt is also responsible for determining or changing your tax class.

The Finanzamt will assign you a tax number or Tax ID. The Tax ID is an 11-digit number and is assigned by the Bundeszentralamt für Steuer (Federal Office of Taxation). It remains valid as long as you live. The Tax ID will be mailed to persons who have moved to Germany from abroad at the address at which they have registered as residents. Foreign employees without a fixed residence ordinarily do not have a Tax ID, and cannot apply for a Tax ID themselves.

Not everyone is required to file a tax return. However, every employee is advised to file a tax return in order to take optimum advantage of tax benefits (e.g. allowances for the costs of travel to work, etc.). Every individual is responsible for preparing and filing his or her own tax return. (The filing deadline for Fiscal Year 2017 is 31 May 2018. Effective Fiscal Year 2018, the filing deadline is extended for two months to 31 July of the respective following year.) You may also make use of the services of tax consultants or income tax assistance associations. (These services are not provided free of charge.)

Further information is provided at:

The minimum amount of paid annual leave is set by law and is thus mandatory. You are entitled to 20 days of paid leave per year if you work a five-day week, and 24 days of leave if you work six days a week. Your leave entitlement is defined in your employment contract. In labour agreements, it is generally considerably higher than the statutory minimum annual leave.

You do not acquire your full leave entitlement until you have been employed for 6 months. You retain your full entitlement even if your employment ends during the second half of the year, provided you have worked for at least 6 months.

You must apply to your employer for leave (preferably in writing). You employer may approve or deny your request. As a rule, annual leave must be taken during the year in which it is earned. Under certain circumstances, however, a certain amount of leave can be carried over into the first 3 months of the follow year.

Unclaimed leave does not automatically expire. In future, employers must ask their employees to take unclaimed leave and draw attention to the fact that it will otherwise expire. Companies must inform their employees »clearly and in advance« of unclaimed leave.

The amount of leave pay to which you are entitled is calculated on the basis of your average earnings for the last 13 weeks preceding the beginning of your leave period. Leave pay is to be paid out prior to the beginning of your leave period.

If your employment ends and you haven’t taken any annual leave, your employer is required to pay you for the remaining leave entitlement. Certain deadlines apply in this case as well, which is why you need to file your claim with your employer as soon as possible.  

Notice of termination must be issued in writing. This rule applies to employers and employees alike.  In order to be recognized as valid, notice of termination must be delivered to the address at which the employee is registered with his or her employer.

There are two types of termination: ordinary termination upon expiration of a mandatory notice period and extraordinary termination for cause.

In the case of an ordinary termination, the employer or employee must observe the applicable notice periods. The law specifies the following notice periods for employers:

  • During the probation period (max. 6 months): 2 weeks (this period may be shorter under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement)
  • After the probation period: 4 weeks to the 15th or last day of a calendar month
  • After 2 years: 1 month to the end of a calendar month
  • After 5 years: 2 months to the end of a calendar month
  • After 8 years: 3 months to the end of a calendar month
  • After 10 years: 4 months to the end of a calendar month
  • After 12 years: 5 months to the end of a calendar month
  • After 15 years: 6 months to the end of a calendar month
  • After 20 years: 7 months to the end of a calendar month

The notice period begins on the date on which notice is served, and not on the date on which it is issued or mailed!

According to Art. 626, paragraph 1 of the BGB, employment can be terminated immediately for cause. Sufficient cause is recognized in cases in which certain demonstrable facts make continuation of the employment relationship unacceptable for the terminating party (for the employee, these may include non-payment of wages, violations of work safety regulations, etc.; for the employer, false claims of inability to work, refusal to perform duties, disruption of order within the organization, etc.).

The reasons for termination must be given on request. Notice of extraordinary termination must be issued within a limitation period of 2 weeks and delivered to the recipient within that period. As a rule, an extraordinary termination must be preceded by a written warning in cases involving alleged improper conduct.

If you receive notice of termination and find the explanation unacceptable, you may take action in your defence. You then have 3 weeks to file an unfair dismissal complaint with the appropriate local labour court. This period begins on the date on which the notice of termination is served. Should you fail to file your complaint within this period, termination will be recognized as valid, regardless of whether it is objectively justified or not.

Protection against wrongful dismissal

In organizations with more than 10 full-time employees (part-time positions are added together), all employees who have been employed for more than 6 months are covered by the general regulations regarding protection against wrongful dismissal as set forth in the Kündigungsschutzgesetz (Protection against Dismissal Act, KSchG). An employer may dismiss an employee only for reasons relating to conduct, personal capability or organizational necessity.

There is special protection against dismissal for some groups: severely disabled persons, fathers and mothers on parental leave, workers councils, trainees, caring persons, holders of political elective offices. They can only be dismissed with the consent of the authorities.  

Women during pregnancy and 4 months after childbirth may not be dismissed. Pregnant women may also not be dismissed while being in the probation period. However, the prerequisite for this is that the employer knew about the pregnancy. The expectant mothers have two weeks after receipt of the letter of termination to inform their employer about their condition. If they do not do so, the termination is effective despite pregnancy.

 

 

If you wish to work in your profession or occupation in Germany, recognition of your qualifications is helpful in many fields and absolutely necessary in others.

A number of professions are »regulated« in Germany. German citizens and foreign nationals are permitted to work in these professions only if they have certain specific qualifications. That applies to physicians and lawyers, for example, as well as for certain master craftsmen who operate their own businesses. If you wish to work in one of these professional occupations, you need to have your qualifications recognized in Germany. You will find a list of all professions and occupations that are regulated in Germany at:

Most professions and occupations are not regulated. In order to work as a business manager, computer scientist or baker, for instance, you don’t need evidence of corresponding professional qualifications. Yet recognition of your qualifications may be helpful nonetheless, as it tells prospective employers what you are qualified to do as soon as they read your application. You have a better chance of success in the labour market and you will be paid better as well.

You will find everything you need to know about recognition in Germany at:

The Information and Advisory Centre in Saxony (Informations- und Beratungsstelle Anerkennung Sachsen, IBAS) is responsible for all matters relating to the recognition of foreign professional qualifications in Saxony. Everyone seeking advice receives a leaflet from the Centre containing information about recognition procedures or alternatives for specific occupations as well as adjustment qualification and job opportunities.

Further information is provided at:

The purpose of maternity leave regulations is to provide the best possible health protection for pregnant women and those who are still nursing their new-born children.

The Mutterschutzgesetz (Maternity Leave Act, MuSchG) applies to all employed (expectant) mothers, including homeworkers, household employees, marginally employed workers, female trainees and (under certain circumstances) school and university students as well.

Women are advised to inform their employers of their pregnancy and their anticipated birthing date as soon as possible in order to ensure compliance with maternity leave regulations. They are protected against dismissal during pregnancy and for 4 months following the birth of a child. Dismissal following a miscarriage after the twelfth week of pregnancy is also prohibited.

Expectant mothers may not be employed during the last six weeks of pregnancy without express consent. Women are prohibited from working during a period of eight weeks after the birth of a child (twelve weeks in the case of premature or multiple births). In cases involving medically indicated and other premature births, the maternity leave entitlement is extended following childbirth by the number of days left unused prior to the birth of the child.

If a child is diagnosed with a disability within eight weeks of birth, its mother is entitled to apply for an extension of the leave period from eight to twelve weeks.

Apart from the generally applicable leave periods, the Mutterschutzgesetz contains general prohibitions intended to protect expectant mothers and their children (e.g. piecework, assembly-line work, overtime, night-shift and Sunday work) and prohibits specific types of work on the basis of a physician’s certificate. An official approval procedure has been introduced to cover work between the hours of 20:00 and 22:00.

The Mutterschutzgesetz provides for several different maternity benefits designed to protect women against financial disadvantages during periods of maternity leave:

  • Maternity allowance
  • Employer’s supplementary contribution to the maternity allowance during periods of maternity leave
  • Wages for prohibited types of work outside of maternity leave periods, known as  Mutterschutzlohn (maternity pay)

Employers are required to report pregnancies to the appropriate supervisory authority (state occupational safety or trade supervisory agencies). Employers are obliged to employ expectant or nursing mothers during pregnancy and after childbirth and furnish their workplaces (including machinery, tools and equipment) in such a way as to ensure that they are sufficiently protected against health risks. In assessing potential hazards, employers are required to take the special needs of the women and children in question into account.

In cases of uncertainty, the supervisory authority determines whether the concrete workplace and the specific working conditions pose a potential risk to the health of expectant and nursing mothers.  Woman and their employers are welcome to consult the supervisory authority if uncertainties or questions arise.

Women who stop working partially or entirely due to a general or individual prohibition prior to the beginning and after the end of the maternity leave period need not fear financial disadvantages. They will continue to receive their average wages (maternity pay). This also applies in cases in which an employer transfers an expectant mother to a different but suitable workplace, thus compelling her to accept a new job.

Further information about this topic is provided at:

Applications for child benefits must be submitted to the Familienkasse (Family Welfare Office) at the appropriate local Agentur für Arbeit. Cross-border workers and employees whose children are not residents of Germany must file their applications with the Familienkasse assigned responsibility for your home country. The Familienkasse will evaluate your entitlement to child benefits.

Country

Contact data for the responsible Familienkasse

Belgium
Bulgaria
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Hungary

Bundesagentur für Arbeit
Familienkasse Rheinland-Pfalz– Saarland
55149 Mainz
GERMANY
Fax: +49 (681) 944 910 5324
E-mail: Familienkasse-Rheinland-Pfalz-Saarland@arbeitsagentur.de

France
Switzerland
Czech Republic

Bundesagentur für Arbeit
Familienkasse Baden-Württemberg West
76088 Karlsruhe
GERMANY
Fax: (für Frankreich) +49 (781) 9393 697
Fax: (für Schweiz) +49 (7621) 178 260 585
Email: Familienkasse-Baden-Wuerttemberg-West@arbeitsagentur.de

Austria
Croatia

Bundesagentur für Arbeit
Familienkasse Bayern Süd
93013 Regensburg
GERMANY
Fax: +49 (851) 508 617
Email: Familienkasse-Bayern-Sued@arbeitsagentur.de
Poland Bundesagentur für Arbeit
Familienkasse Sachsen
09092 Chemnitz
GERMANY
Fax: +49 (3591) 661 878
Email: Familienkasse-Sachsen@arbeitsagentur.de

All other
EU/EEA
Member States

Bundesagentur für Arbeit
Familienkasse Bayern Nord
90316 Nürnberg
GERMANY
Fax: +49 (911) 529 3997
Email: Familienkasse-Bayern-Nord@arbeitsagentur.de

Beginning in 2018, the retroactive payment period for child benefits was reduced from the former four years to six months. This limitation to a period of six months applies to payment only, and not to the actual entitlement to child benefits. Even if the Familienkasse has determined that entitlement extends retroactively beyond the six-month period, the Familienkasse will pay only for the last six months from the date of receipt of the application and inform the recipient accordingly in the payment notice.

Since July 2019, the monthly child benefit is set at 204 € for the first two children, 210 € for the third child and 235 € for each additional child.

Detailed information and application forms in various languages are provided at:

Child benefit supplements are paid in addition to the standard child benefit. Parents or legal guardians may apply for these supplements. The child benefit supplement is paid out along with the standard child benefit. It is paid for unmarried children under the age of 25 who live in your household.

As of 1 July 2019, the child supplement per child and month has increased to a maximum of 185€.

Since 1 January 2020, the upper income limits no longer apply. In addition, only 45% of parents' income in excess of their own needs, instead of the previous 50%, was credited towards the child supplement.

The child benefit supplement provides financial support for families with limited incomes. You must meet the following prerequisites in order to receive this supplement:

  • You receive a child benefit (or comparable benefit) for the child in question.
  • You gross monthly income must be at least 900 euros (total for two parents) or 600 euros (for single parents).
  • Combined with your income, child benefit and possibly a housing benefit, you would have enough income to support your family.

All relevant information about child benefit supplements as well as application forms are provided at:

Parental leave offers you an opportunity to provide care for your child without withdrawing completely from occupational life.

As an employed person you are entitled to parental leave until your child’s third birthday. You needn’t work during this period – you retain your job and cannot be dismissed by your employer. Mothers and fathers can take parental leave individually or together. In order to qualify, you must live with the child in a single household, raise and care for the child yourself, for the most part, and work no more than 30 hours per week during the parental leave period.

You are required to file your application for parental leave for the period ending with the child’s third birthday with your employer no later than seven weeks prior to the beginning of your parental leave period. At the end of your parental leave, your employer must offer you an equivalent job.

Parental allowances are a form of government support for parents who wish to care for their child themselves for a certain period of time following its birth and are thus unable to work full-time (or at all) during that period. Parents who were not gainfully employed prior to the birth of a child are also eligible to receive parental allowances.

Parental allowances are granted in two different forms for births dated 1 July 2015 or later. The first is a basic parental allowance, which corresponds to the previous parental allowance. The second is called ElterngeldPlus. Mothers and fathers who receive ElterngeldPlus are permitted to combine a parental allowance with earnings from part-time work. Parents who return to work part-time before the end of the parental leave period are eligible to receive a parental allowance for a longer period of time.

You must meet the following prerequisites in order to receive a parental allowance:

  • You have a temporary or permanent residence permit that entitles you to work in Germany.
  • You raise and care for your child yourself after its birth.
  • You live with your child in a single household.
  • You do not work more than 30 hours per week.
  • Your registered or habitual residence is in Germany. Citizens of EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have the same entitlement to a parental allowance as Germans, provided they live or are gainfully employed in Germany.

The parental allowance equates to roughly two-thirds of a person’s last monthly income (at least 300 and no more than 1,800 euros). The parental allowance is paid for a period of twelve months. When mothers and fathers share their parental leave, they receive the basic parental allowance for a maximum of 14 months. One of the two parents can receive the parental allowance for at least two months and no more than 12 months. 

ElterngeldPlus is calculated in the same way as the basic parental allowance, but amounts to no more than half of the parental allowance to which parents without part-time income would be entitled after the birth of a child. That amount is paid for twice as long, however: one month of basic parental leave = two months of ElterngeldPlus.

Further information is provided at:

The parental allowance office for your area is listed here:

Parents who live in the Free State of Saxony are eligible to receive a state education benefit during the second or third year of their child’s life.

With this state education benefit, the Free State of Saxony offers special support for parents who have chosen to care for a child at home for a longer period of time and wish, for example, to make use of the full three years of eligibility for statutory parental leave. However, if you wish to place your child in a state-funded day-care centre or receive government day-care support, you will ordinarily not be eligible to receive a state education benefit.

Further information about the state education benefit (eligibility, length of entitlement, amounts, etc.) is provided at:

Unemployment benefit I (Arbeitslosengeld I) is intended to provide workers who lose their jobs a measure of social security. It is meant to replace a portion of the income lost by individuals during periods of unemployment. Unemployment benefit I is an insurance benefit.

Entitlement to unemployment benefit I is defined in the third Sozialgesetzbuch (Social Security Code, SGB III). The responsible funding authority is the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency, BA) or the appropriate local Agentur für Arbeit.

To qualify for unemployment benefit I, you must be unemployed, personally registered as unemployed with the Agentur für Arbeit and meet the requirements for the minimum qualifying period (at least twelve months in an insured employment relationship during the last  30 months preceding unemployment). 

Unemployed as defined by law is an individual who is currently not engaged in an employment relationship, who is actively seeking employment and who is available for placement by the Agentur für Arbeit. The exercise of gainful activity for periods of less than 15 hours per week does not disqualify a candidate from eligibility for unemployment benefit I.

Unemployed persons are required to register in person as unemployed with the appropriate Agentur für Arbeit. Written or telephonic registration is not sufficient.

From 2020, more favourable rules will apply to entitlement to unemployment benefit. As a rule, only unemployed persons who can prove that they have been in employment subject to compulsory insurance for at least twelve months will continue to receive this benefit. The required twelve months can now be proven within a period of 30 months before the date of application for unemployment benefit.

The amount of unemployment benefit I is calculated on the basis of the average gross insured income earned by an unemployed individual during the year preceding eligibility for unemployment benefit and accounted for at the end of the employment period. Taking into account the payroll deductions ordinarily made for employees (for social security contributions and taxes), a net monthly benefit is calculated on the basis of these gross earnings. According to tax law, unemployed persons with one child receive 67% of this net monthly benefit. Other unemployed individuals receive 60%.

The duration of eligibility for unemployment benefit I depends on the length of insured employment within the last five years preceding registration as unemployed and the individual’s age as of the first day of eligibility.

Number of months covered  by mandatory insurance during the past 5 years

Age

Maximum duration of entitlement (months)

12

 

6

16

 

8

20

 

10

24

 

12

30

50.

15

36

55.

18

48

58.

24

Employees who fail to comply with insurance requirements without sufficient reason must expect to be blocked from eligibility for a period of one to twelve months. Entitlement to unemployment benefit I is suspended during this period, and no benefits will be paid. Furthermore, the duration of entitlement is reduced by the duration of the suspension period.

Please note! Cross-border workers are not entitled to receive German Unemployment Benefit I! Further information is provided under Cross-border workers.

An unemployed person who has earned an entitlement to receive German unemployment benefits may continue to receive these benefits for the purpose of looking for work in a Member State of the EU for three to six months (transfer / export of benefits). The individual has a legal right to transfer of benefits for the first three months, after which a discretionary decision must be taken. The unemployed individual must apply for transfer of benefits before leaving the country. Those who meet the prerequisites for entitlement will be issued a copy of portable document PD U2. If the unemployed individual registers as seeking employment with the appropriate agency in the country in which he or she is seeking work, a certain amount of unemployment benefit will be approved for a certain period of time.

While receiving benefits for the purpose of seeking employment abroad, unemployed persons remain insured by their current health insurer. In order to receive benefits in kind (e.g. medical treatment, medications, hospital treatment), an unemployed individual (and his/her family members) must have a European Health Insurance Card.

Further information on the topic of unemployment compensation is provided at:

If you live in Germany and receive no or only very little unemployment benefit and your earnings or assets are not sufficient to cover your living expenses, you may be eligible to apply for Unemployment Benefit II (Arbeitslosengeld II).

You are entitled to receive these benefits if you are more than 15 years old and have not reached retirement age (age 65-67), if your customary place of residence is in the Federal Republic of Germany, if you are able and permitted to work at least 3 hours per day, if you are not currently employed or if your income lies below the subsistence level and you have no assets from which you could pay your living expenses.

Arbeitslosengeld II consists of several different components:

  1. Basic expenses
    This benefit covers the basic daily needs of one person, such as food and clothing. Amounts differ and depend on such factors as marital status and age. The basic benefit is adjusted regularly at the first of each year.
  2. Expenses for housing and heating
    This benefit covers reasonable and appropriate housing and heating costs, including secondary costs. Amounts differ from one location to another, and are set by the respective Job Centre.
  3. Extraordinary expenses
    This benefit is intended to help cover the costs of extraordinary living circumstances – e.g. for single parents or individuals who require an expensive diet for medical reasons.
  4. One-time expenses
    These benefits are paid once only – for initial home furnishings, for example, or furnishings needed in cases of pregnancy or birth.
  5. Expenses for education and participation of children and youth in social and cultural activities (BuT)
    In order to enable children, youth and young adults to take part in social and cultural life, their families may be eligible to receive support. This may include funds to cover the costs of school excursions, tutoring, membership in a sport club or private musical instruction.

This financial aid is provided for a limited period of time (usually twelve months). At the end of this period, the Agentur für Arbeit will determine whether or not you should continue to receive Arbeitslosengeld II.    

Further information is provided at:

If you experience a conflict with your employer, you can file a complaint with the appropriate local Arbeitsgericht (labour court).

The Arbeitsgericht is the judicial venue for disputes that fall within the scope of the Arbeitsgerichtsgesetz (Labour Court Act). These include above all conflicts that arise between employees and their employers. In the first instance, the plaintiff and the defendant always bear their own costs. This means that the parties are not reimbursed for the costs they incur in the first instance. Court costs and attorneys’ fees may be paid in part or in full by the state if legal aid is granted. You are free to consult an attorney for the purpose of discussing the problem before filing a complaint. However, you will have to pay the costs of such consultation yourself, and they are not reimbursable.

Persons who need legal advice or legal assistance from an attorney but have only a limited income can apply to the appropriate Amtsgericht at their place of residence in Saxony for an advisory aid form (Beratungshilfeschein). Using this form, the attorney will bill the state directly for legal advice and other services. The fee for the Beratungshilfeschein is 15 euros.

Here’s a tip! As a member of a German trade union you are entitled to legal insurance. Membership in a union is voluntary, and legal insurance is free after three months of membership.  

Further information on this topic is provided at:

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