The information in this article has been provided by Hamburg Welcome Portal.
Once you have been selected for a job position, you will receive an employment contract. It establishes the rights and obligations between the employee and the employer for the duration of the employment. Duties of the employee include carrying out assigned tasks, following the instructions of the employer and refraining from disclosing company secrets. The employer is obliged to pay wages and social security contributions (including during illness) and to grant holidays. If there is a reasonable cause (for example, expiry of the probationary period or change of supervisor), the employee is entitled to obtain a job reference. Before signing the employment contract and returning it to the employer, you should check it carefully and make sure you understand everything.
Title and job description
- What will be your tasks in the company?
Start and duration of the employment
- From what date are you an official employee of the company?
- Is your contract valid for a limited time only? A time limit must be agreed upon in writing, otherwise the employment contract is deemed to be concluded for an indefinite period.
- How many hours do you have to work each week? A full job in Germany covers about 40 hours per week. It is also possible to work part-time.
- Do you have to work on specific days and during specific hours?
Duration of the probationary period
- How long does your probationary period last? The maximum is six months. During this period, both you and the company can terminate the contract on short notice.
- If you or your company wish to terminate the employment contract, how long in advance should there be given notice? Usually, the staturory notice period is extended the longer you work for a company.
- How much money will you earn for your work? Usually, the salary is agreed as gross remuneration. Taxes and charges for social insurance such as health, long-term care, pension and unemployment insurance are deducted from this amount.
- Will the company pay supplements or premiums in addition to normal pay, for example during Christmas or weekends?
- When does the company pay the salary – at the end or the beginning of the month?
- How many days of paid leave can you take each year? If you work five days a week, you are entitled to a statutory minimum of 20 days of paid leave per year.
Collective, company or service agreements
In addition to the employment contract, special regulations often apply. For example, employers’ organisations and trade unions have concluded collective agreements in many sectors. Collective agreements can, for example, regulate wages, bonuses or vacation entitlements. Companies can also sign contracts with their works councils – as employee representatives. These are called works agreements. Whether such contracts apply to you, may result from your employment contract.
In case of illness
If you fall ill, you must report this to your employer immediately. If your illness lasts for more than three days, you must submit a doctor's certificate to your employer by the fourth day at the latest. Your employer will pay your full salary for the duration of six weeks. After those six weeks, your health insurance will pay 70 percent of your salary if you are a member of the statutory health insurance. There are different rules if you have a private health insurance. In this case, please ask your health insurance company directly.