A large majority of German students have odd jobs alongside their studies. What is commonly referred to as a side job or a Minijob or Nebenjob is much more developed in Germany than other parts of Europe. Read more on how to find a student job.
Minijobs in Germany are ideal for both students and increasingly for the older population. Whether you are an expat spouse or a newcomer to the German labor market, you will find the following overview on how to find a student job, including the statutes helpful. Additionally, you can read on tips to make your integration into the German work environment easier.
The various side jobs in Germany
The concept of a side job cuts across several realities in Germany, including the minijob, the status of salaried student or student assistant, as well as part-time jobs. It is also possible to set up on your own .
- salaried students ( Werkstudenten )
- student assistants ( Hiwi, studentische und wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft )
- people in professional or cultural integration, who arrive in Germany but are limited by the language barrier
- Freelance or self-employed in Germany
- seasonal jobs ( Saisonarbeit, Saisonbeschäftigung )
Remuneration and conditions for side jobs in Germany
Since 2015, a minimum wage for odd jobs in Germany has been introduced, which corresponds to the legal minimum wage of € 9.60.
1. The status of minijobs
The minijobs can concern students but also people in professional and cultural integration (expatriates for example). They are compensated up to € 450 per month. This salary amount is however not taxable and there are no contributions, because no cover is paid by the employer. But as part of a student job, young people are often covered by their parents’ health insurance until they turn 25.
Minijobs also have other advantages:
- salary maintenance in the event of sick leave
- payment of public holidays
- right to paid vacation
On the other hand, as the worker does not pay social contributions, he is not eligible for unemployment benefit in Germany ( Arbeitslosengeld ).
It is possible to accumulate minijobs as long as the ceiling of € 450 is not reached, but several elements must be taken into account. First of all, ancillary jobs must not be the source of too much pressure, mental, physical or hourly in order to avoid this leading to neglecting the main job.
Be careful, because German law imposes a ceiling of 8 hours of work per day. This can go up to 10h / day, if you have not worked more than 8h (on average) for 6 months.
Another very important aspect is to read your employment contract carefully before starting any additional activity. Some employment contracts prohibit the accumulation of jobs: this can lead to reprimand, a call to order or even dismissal. Likewise, if the part-time work concerns a competitive sector of the main job, the supervisor should be made aware.
An employer is therefore entitled to refuse an additional activity, if it is a job with a competitor or if he considers that a second job affects the performance of the employee in his main job.
In general, salaries vary between 10 and 15 € per hour. The best paid are those related to IT (developer, programmer).
2. The status of salaried students
Salaried students ( Werkstudent ) work in a company for several hours a week and receive their own salary. This is a statute that does not exist at all other European countires: companies often employ low-skilled people to perform simple tasks such as analyzing and compiling data, managing personal agendas or taking notes during a meeting.
3. The status of student assistants
Student assistants ( Studentische Hilfskräfte or Hiwis ) work in their university or more specifically in their department and help their teachers by carrying out administrative tasks, preparation of courses, seminars.
This status does not allow to obtain a fixed salary, because these workers are paid by the hour. On the other hand, the salary is subject to income tax, unless the annual salary amount is less than € 9,168. They can therefore earn more than 450 € per month.
However, they only get low-cost health insurance if they show that their time is mainly spent on their studies. It is therefore not possible for them to work more than 20 hours per week, nor more than 26 weeks in the year.
Contributions payable are reduced for those earning between € 450 and € 1,300, but if students exceed the 20-hour limit, their employment is considered an activity that must be subject to social contributions.
4. Seasonal status
Seasonal jobs are quite common in Germany. Many sectors recruit young people, especially during the summer period or during the end of year celebrations for short jobs.
However, one of the prerequisites is a good level of German in order to be able to work in fields such as catering , tourism or hospitality. The agriculture sector hires a lot of seasonal workers at harvest time. However, producers generally turn to low-skilled and cheaper labor from eastern countries.
To be seasonal in Germany , you must be of legal age and a resident of the European Union. Seasonal work must not exceed six months (or nine in the case of fairground workers) and cannot constitute subsistence employment , that is, it must be considered as a secondary job.
The seasonal wage corresponds to the legal minimum, i.e. € 9.60 gross per hour worked. This type of job also makes it possible to be eligible for unemployment benefit for six months, regardless of the length of the employment contract.
Seasonal jobs can sometimes be exempt from social contributions, but they are taxable.
5. Freelance status in Germany
It is also possible to start an activity in Germany to become self-employed or to work as a freelance. This has many advantages, such as flexibility in work or even higher income than in the context of a mini-job. Obtaining this status still requires a certain number of procedures, in particular concerning contributions and insurance.
How can I find a student job or an odd job in Germany?
The German universities often organize job fairs or offer directly on their site jobs. It is also recommended to consult the classifieds, local recruitment sites or directly the career space of companies.
Many Franco-German or German-speaking job boards publish classified ads or job descriptions, such as the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ). The Jobbörse but also the Bundesagentur für Arbeit also have a tab dedicated to finding additional jobs.
- Jobbörse Arbeitsagentur: offering a specific search engine for side jobs
- OFAJ recruitment area: offering a filter for the different types of jobs
- meinestadt.de: offering a large number of mini- jobs, Nebenjob and student jobs
- ebay-kleinanzeigen.de: classified ads to find side jobs
The extra job is your ticket to integrate in Germany
It is important to think carefully about the skills that the odd job will give you to build your career. A side job can be a powerful integration factor in learning German: people arriving in Germany without mastering the language often find themselves blocked from integrating into their new life. Having a job of a few hours a week allows you to familiarize yourself with customs, better understand the method of thinking and especially to develop your German.
Don’t overlook the importance of your odd job in your career. Minijob does not only rhyme with precariousness but opens doors in the business world. This can be a fundamental asset on your German CV: German employers value the practical experience of applicants, because any experience is good to be taken. You can use it to demonstrate your skills ( team spirit, organizational and communication skills).
NOTE: These are fairly precarious positions with low income, no social protection or unemployment benefit because no contribution. These jobs are very useful in a period of integration or in a phase of student life, but above all must be temporary, because they can be the source of very precarious situations.