Jobbing

For many students, jobbing is an important way of financing their studies. However, there are a few pitfalls to avoid here, so that you don’t end up with less at the end than you would have had without the job. 

Students receiving student maintenance (“BAföG”), who have family health insurance or have leave to remain for study purposes as per § 16 AufenthG (German immigration law) must take note of a few points. 

With BAföG, during a period of 12 months during which the grant is bestowed, an income from holiday and side jobs of up to 5,400 € a year (450 € monthly) remains exempt from deductions. Higher incomes will reduce the BAföG entitlement.

It is also important that the success of your studies does not suffer from excess jobbing. After all, in order to keep receiving BAföG payments, at the beginning of the 5th semester a certificate of study must be produced demonstrating that ordinary performance has been achieved to the end of the 4th semester. 

With statutory health insurance, family-insured students may earn a maximum of 435 € per month (2018), otherwise they will be excluded from the family insurance. Exception: for those in small-scale employment (as defined by the law) up to 450 € per month can be earned. 

International students who have leave to remain for study purposes in Germany may only work on 120 whole or 240 half days per year. As an exception to this, scientific or student-related assistant roles are without limit. Freelance work must be approved by the immigration authority.

In the first year in which a student has leave to remain in the country for measures preparatory to a course of study, work may only be carried out in the holidays.

Regarding paying taxes, pension contributions and health and care insurance, there are various rules depending on the type of employment. 

Kinds of employment realtionships

For a “Minijob” declared as such at the Minijob centre, remuneration may not regularly exceed 450 € a month. The exemption limit is thus 5,400 € per year. Students must take care that they do not exceed the yearly exemption limit through special payments such as Christmas or holiday pay. By reason of unforeseen and only occasional events (e.g. sick leave) the monthly salary cap can be exceeded in a maximum of three months of the year. This, however, is an exceptional case. 

Tax-free additional income does not count towards regular income. This includes, for example, supplements for Sunday, holiday or overtime work. 

The advantage of a 450 € job is that it does not require contributions towards statutory health and care insurance. For pension contributions there is a required payment of 3.7 %, from which, however, you can be exempted at the beginning of the work contract. The employer must pay social insurance. They must generally also pay the flat rate of income tax. 

Short-term employment must be fixed in advance for a certain period and may not be carried out in the long term. 

As per the current legal requirements (to 31.12.2018) work may last no longer than 3 months with a working week of 5 days, or 70 days in the year. If a number of employment relationships are entered into, they must be added together. 

There is no pay cap to stick to here. Short-term employment has the advantage that no social security contributions must be made. However, income must be taxed as usual.

Working student status is a special case of a “regular” employment relationship. This special regulation comes into force when employment lasts longer than 3 months or 70 days in a calendar year and the salary is higher than 450 €.

For working student status, studying must take precedence over the work relationship. This is assumed for students who work no more than 20 hours per week during full term. For more than 20 hours per week, student status must remain in the foreground in order to maintain working student status. This is the case when work takes place predominantly outside of regular study time, i.e. at weekends, evenings and nights, and is limited to a maximum of 26 weeks.

Exceeding 20 hours per week outside of full term is possible.

Employment as a working student is subject to normal taxes. 

If neither Minijob, short-term employment nor working student status are applicable, the job is treated as a normal working relationship. Thus, full social security and tax obligations are in force. 

Those earning less than 850 € have lower social security payments to pay, as part of a so-called “Midijob”. 

Very extensive employment can cause problems for you within the bounds of university law. The university may exmatriculate you if because of your employment you become incapable of dedicating yourself unreservedly to your studies.

There are different sorts of internship:

  • Pre- and post-study internships prescribed in the study regulations require insurance in all branches of social security, even at a rate of pay below 450 €.
  • Practical semesters prescribed in the study regulations are exempt from insurance requirements in all branches of social security. Income plays no role in this.
  • Voluntary internships during semester holidays require pension contributions but are exempt from health, care and unemployment insurance if no more than 450 € is earned monthly. 

But a note of caution: health insurance exemption means that no contributions need be made from your wages towards health insurance. The income cap for family insurance also applies here!

In all variants, working hours have no influence on the determination of the social security obligations. All internships are taxed as normal. 

Please Note

If you have further questions on this topic or other options of financing your studies, you can turn to our social advice!

To the social advice

Note

If you have questions concerning BAföG, please contact the Amt für Ausbildungsförderung.

To BAföG