Do you have part-time job? It’s OK. No one will tell you to stop! Kind of


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In Germany, an employee is permitted to have a part-time job provided that this does not affect the employment relationship.

The only thing you have to remember about parti-time jobs in Germany: the possibility of doing a part-time job is limited by legal regulations (e.g., working hours) and often also by collective bargaining agreements, works agreements or express wording in the employment contract. Below is what you have to remember.

1. Do you need approval from your employer to do a part-time job?

Contrary to widespread opinion, employers can not generally prohibit their employees from taking on part-time jobs through standard formulations in the employment contract (prohibition of secondary employment). The boss can therefore not simply forbid the employee to work on the side, even if it is in the employment contract. The wording “A secondary job may only be carried out if it has been approved by the employer in advance” also violates the fundamental right to free choice of profession.

FACT: A contractually agreed general ban on secondary employment is ineffective and the employer cannot terminate the employee just because he is also working elsewhere. An employee can therefore in principle pursue a part-time job in his spare time. However, if it can be assumed that the secondary job collides with the main job, there is an obligation to notify the employer. If there is no legitimate interest on the part of the employer, the employee is entitled to approval of the secondary job.

2. Can your employer put restrictions and limits on your part-time job?

The employer can demand that the employee make all of the workforce available during the agreed working hours. But what employees do in their free time after work is none of their business. However, the main activity must not be impaired by exercising the secondary activity.

No part-time job may be carried out to the detriment of the main employer and consequently the exercise of activities in the omission of which the employer has a legitimate interest is prohibited.

In addition, the part-time job must not exceed the statutory maximum working hours. According to the Working Hours Act (§ 3 ArbZG), the working hours of employees may not exceed eight hours.

In exceptional cases, however, it can be extended to up to ten hours. Part-time jobs are therefore primarily something for part-time workers. “Part-time jobbers” and temporary workers are therefore recommended to read the article right to part-time work.

If the employee is on sick leave, he may not carry out any activity that would impair the healing process. If he has torn a muscle fiber in his leg, he is not allowed to work as a waiter in the evening. A reasonable amount of time spent working at the computer at home would not be included in this. Likewise, no secondary activity may be carried out during the vacation that would impair the recreational purpose.

3. Exception of non-compete (non-compete)

An important exception is when the employee works part-time for a competitor or wants to compete with the employer himself. Of course, the employer doesn’t have to put up with that. He can then prohibit such a part-time job and, under certain circumstances, also terminate the employee.

However, the employer’s interests worthy of protection must also be impaired by the secondary activity. According to the BAG judgment of March 24, 2010, Az. 10 AZR 66/09, the only subordinate economic support of the competing company is not sufficient.

In the case of the verdict, a letter sorter employed by Deutsche Post AG with 15 hours a week had taken on a part-time job as a newspaper delivery worker with another company with a weekly working time of six hours and the other company not only delivered newspapers, but also letters and other mail.

4. Tax consequences of having a parti-time job in Germany

From a tax point of view, the income from secondary employment will also represent income from non-self-employed work within the meaning of Section 19 of the Income Tax Act. Income from part-time activities as a trainer, trainer, educator, supervisor or comparable part-time activities are tax-free according to Section 3 No. 26 EStG up to a total of 2,100 euros per year.

Special case officials

The secondary employment of civil servants is regulated in the civil service laws of the federal and state governments and in special secondary employment ordinances.

Officials on leave working a part-time job

Civil servants on leave are also exempt from health, care and unemployment insurance if they are employed by a private employer

  • the private employer undertakes to grant the civil servant on leave the agreed remuneration and the benefits in accordance with the state aid regulations for the entire period of leave in the event of illness, and
  • the employer who is on leave declares that he will guarantee the return of the civil servant on leave from the point in time at which the employer no longer provides these services in the event of illness.


Michelle Halterman
Michelle Halterman
USA, China, South Africa and now Munich - Michelle has come a long way in the world. She is an outdoor person and loves to be in nature with friends and on her mountain bike. Or she meets up with friends for pasta, vino, cappaccino & Co.


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