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Advantages of working in Germany 

As a jobseeker from the EU looking for new opportunities in the German job market, there are some uncertainties about working abroad. What really matters is to have the courage to take the decision and jump into this amazing experience.  Considering the above, let’s dive into the key advantages that make Germany an attractive workplace. 

Short work hours, plenty of vacation time and public holidays 

Working hours 

In Germany, full-time employment typically spans 40 hours per week, with the option for part-time work. The maximum daily work limit is 8 hours, followed by a mandatory 11-hour rest period. Some sectors, like healthcare, transport, and restaurants, may operate on all days, including Sundays and public holidays. Despite this flexibility, the absolute maximum weekly working hours stand at 48 hours on average, ensuring a healthy work-life balance. 

According to Eurostat (2022), Germany ranks second globally, with an average weekly working time of 35.3 hours, and thus commits to the employee’s well-being and efficient work practices. 

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Vacations 

Employees working a five-day week in Germany are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of paid vacation annually. Younger employees enjoy even longer breaks, with those under 16 entitled to at least 25 days, those under 17 to at least 22.5 days, and those under 18 to at least 20.8 days.  

The actual paid vacations days in Germany depend on the size of company, state where is located, and the industry. The vacation is offered as a benefit package that supports the wellbeing of their employees. The following statistics show that the average number of vacation days and the number of public vacations in Germany by federal state in 2020 are 30 and 11 days respectively. 

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Public Holidays  

Public holidays in Germany vary by state, with each state having its specific days. However, there are nine national public holidays that all states observe, protected by law to ensure a collective celebration of these significant occasions nationwide: 

Date Day Holiday States 
01. Jan Mon New Year’s Day National 
29 Mar Fri Good Friday National 
01. Apr Mon Easter Monday National 
1 May Wed Labour Day National 
9 May Thu Ascension Day National 
20 May Mon Whit Monday National 
3 Oct Thu Day of German Unity National 
25 Dec Wed Christmas Day National 
26 Dec Thu 2nd Day of Christmas National 
Public holidays in Germany

Source: Germany Public Holidays – PublicHolidays.de 

Map of German StatesClick on states you want to explore: 

Baden-Württemberg Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 
Bavaria North Rhine-Westphalia 
Berlin Rhineland-Palatinate 
Brandenburg Saarland 
Bremen Saxony-Anhalt 
Hamburg Saxony 
Hesse Schleswig-Holstein 
Lower Saxony Thuringia 
Holidays by state

Highest minimum wage in the EU  

There are still significant differences between EU member states, depending on factors such as labor laws, demand, inflation, and more. 

Germany does well when it comes to paying people a fair minimum wage compared to other European Union (EU) countries. Since 1 January 2024, the gross minimum wage in Germany has been 12.41 euros per hour for actual working hours. We’re comparing the data for the first half of 2024, and there are two ways to measure this: in Euros and in Purchasing Power Standard (PPS), which considers how far your money goes in buying goods and services. 

In terms of Euros, Germany’s monthly minimum wage is €2,054, putting it in the fourth spot among EU countries. This means that people working in Germany are earning more compared to some other European nations like Belgium, France, and Spain. 

Now, when we think about purchasing power, which looks at what you can actually buy with that money, Germany is still does very well. In Purchasing Power Standard, Germany’s minimum wage is €1,882.92, making it one of the highest in the EU. Luxembourg is the only country that beats Germany in this measure. 

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Denmark, Italy, Austria, Finland and Sweden have no national minimum wage. 

This commitment to fair treatment in the workplace is not just a number on paper: The German social system places a high value on protecting workers‘ rights and safety. In case of any rights violations, individuals can turn to the Minimum Wage Hotline at +49 (030) 60 28 00 28 to file complaints and reports. This ensures adherence to minimum wage laws and promotes fair treatment in the workplace. It’s a good sign for the people working in Germany! 

Social security benefits 

Germany’s comprehensive social security system provides workers with security and a safety net throughout their lives. Mandatory contributions during employment translate into benefits that significantly enhance well-being: accessible health care, secure pensions, unemployment assistance during job transitions. This system reduces financial anxiety, promotes a healthy work-life balance, and provides a sense of security that allows employees to focus on their careers and personal lives. 

Like other European pension systems, the German statutory pension scheme requires a certain contribution period to qualify for a pension. The minimum insurance period to be entitled to a German old-age pension upon retirement is five years. 

Health Insurance 

In Germany, EU citizens who are working in Germany can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay. The EHIC is a free card that is valid in all 27 EU countries. 

However, if you move your habitual residence to another country, you should register for health insurance with the S1 form instead of using the EHIC to receive medical care in your new country of residence. This form entitles you to the same healthcare benefits as citizens of that country and covers any pre-existing conditions you may have. 

Health insurance starts on the day the employment relationship begins and there two systems: statutory health insurance scheme (GKV) and private health insurance

Statutory Health Insurance  

The statutory health insurance scheme is the most common type of insurance in Germany. This comprehensive scheme provides access to state-provided healthcare services, covering everything from routine doctor’s visits to hospital treatments and prescription medicines. 

Joining GKV involves registering with one of the Krankenkassen (health insurance funds) in Germany. Popular options include Deutsche Angestellten-Krankenkasse (DAK), Barmer Ersatzkasse (BEK), Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), and Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse ( AOK). Upon registration, you’ll receive a health insurance card, simplifying your access to healthcare services. 

Private Health Insurance 

This individual private health insurance can be more expensive but offers broader coverage and potentially shorter waiting times but comes with higher premiums. It may be mandatory for those exceeding a certain income threshold or meeting specific criteria. 

Pension  

In Germany, being an employee comes with the benefit of participating in the country’s comprehensive pension system. From the onset of your employment, you are automatically enrolled in the pension scheme, marking the beginning of building your pension entitlements. This scheme plays a crucial role in securing your financial future during retirement. This contribution is split equally between you and your employer. 

Germany’s pension system operates on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning contributions from currently employed individuals directly fund the pensions of current retirees. 

Unemployment  

In Germany, losing your job needn’t put you in financial jeopardy if you’ve been diligently paying into the social security system. Most employees are automatically enrolled in unemployment insurance. This benefit, known as „Arbeitslosengeld,“ replaces a portion of your lost income for a defined period, helping you bridge the gap while seeking new employment. However, it’s not a catch-all solution. „Mini-job“ holders and self-employed individuals need to navigate different paths. While not automatically covered, self-employed individuals can opt into the system through voluntary contributions, ensuring similar safeguards in case of unemployment. Remember, understanding these eligibility criteria is crucial to accessing support during challenging times. 

The unemployment benefit helps maintain a sense of financial security for workers who have diligently contributed to the social security system. In times of job loss, individuals can tap into these benefits to cover their basic needs, including housing, utilities, and other essential expenses. 

Furthermore, the German unemployment benefit system is designed to encourage reintegration into the workforce. Recipients are often required to actively seek employment and participate in training or requalification programs.  

Further potential benefits 

Competitive Salaries 

A strong economy and a high standard of living contribute to attractive salary packages, providing financial stability and security for employees. 

Wellness Benefits 

Many German employers prioritize the health and well-being of their employees by offering wellness benefits. These benefits may include access to fitness programs, gym memberships, health insurance coverage, and other wellness initiatives. The goal is to support employees in maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. 

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