Do you know the 6 part-time work models in Germany?


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Find information on and legal matters regarding the 6 part-time work models in Germany below

Many people choose to work part-time. There are different models. Every employee has the right to work part-time. But under certain circumstances the employer can reject an application. With part-time work, it is not just the salary that changes. Vacation and health insurance can also change. Below is a look at the part-time work models available in Germany

General information about part-time in Germany

FACT: In 2019, 29.2% of all employees in Germany were employed part-time. About 80% of them were women.

part-time work models

When does an employee work part-time?

‌The general conditions are set out in Section 2 of the Part-Time and Fixed-Term Employment Act. (§ 2 TzBfG) According to this law, every employee is considered to be part-time who regularly has shorter weekly working hours than comparable employees who work full-time.

‌This means that the comparison makes the difference. If an employer has employees who work an average of 40 hours a week, someone who only works 39 hours is already considered part-time. It can be different in another industry.

For example, in one industry full-time is 35 hours according to the collective agreement. Then you would be working part-time for 34 hours and less. According to the definition, all employees who are marginally employed are also considered to be part-time.

Parental leave

When a child is born, the parents can take parental leave up to the age of three. An employee on parental leave may not work more than 30 hours a week. If he wants to work again during this time, he may be entitled to part-time work model.

The following conditions are necessary for the employer reduces the working hours of the employee: (§ 15 ABS 7 BEEG.)

  • The employer has more than 15 employees.
  • The employee has been with the company for more than 6 months.
  • There are no urgent operational reasons that speak against it.
  • The employee makes his claim in writing. He does this at least 7 weeks before he wants to start working part-time.
  • The contractually agreed working hours are reduced by at least 2 months. The scope is between 14 and 30 hours.

‌If the employee does not make the claim early enough, the start of part-time work is simply postponed.

FACT: An employee is entitled to parental leave for the first 3 years of the child’s life. A portion of up to 2 years can be taken between the ages of three and eight. If the employee wishes to exercise part-time entitlement during this time, he must do so 13 weeks in advance.

Health insurance

‌In principle, everyone in Germany must have health insurance. Depending on the requirements, there are three ways in which an employee can be insured:

  • ‌Mandatory insurance in the statutory health insurance (SGB V § 5)
  • ‌Voluntary insurance in the statutory health insurance (SGB V § 9)
  • Private health insurance

‌An employee is in principle compulsorily insured within the framework of statutory health insurance.

‌An employee is exempt from insurance if he exceeds the annual income limit. (SGB V § 6) The limit is 62,550 euros in 2020 and 5,212.50 euros in the month. The limit changes annually.

‌Even if you are marginally employed, you are not covered by insurance. (SGB V § 7) This means that the employee must insure himself.

Switch from full-time to part-time

‌‌Some employees earn more than the annual income limit and are privately insured. But what happens when they switch from full-time to part-time and are now actually subject to compulsory insurance with the statutory health insurance company? There are two possibilities:

  • ‌The employee switches to statutory health insurance.
  • ‌The employee can be exempted from compulsory insurance in accordance with SGB V § 8. The prerequisite for this is that the employee only works half full-time or less.

Vacation entitlement

In principle, every employee is entitled to vacation, even if they work part-time. How long the vacation is does not depend on the working hours, but on the number of weekly working days. The Federal Holiday Act (BUrlG) assumes a 6-day week.

The employee is entitled to at least 24 days of vacation per year. If there are fewer working days per week, the vacation entitlement is lower.

Working days per weekVacation days in the year
5 days‌20 days vacation
4 days‌16 days vacation
3 days‌12 days vacation
2 days‌8 days of vacation

Salary calculator

‌Are you considering switching from full-time to part-time work? Then you are probably wondering how that would affect your salary. 

Suppose you want to reduce your working week from 40 hours to 20 hours. This does not automatically mean that your net salary will be halved. Because tax class, insurance and other aspects are included in the calculation. 

A part-time calculator can give you an overview. You enter your personal data and can use the part-time calculator to calculate the expected gross and net wages . All duties (insurance, tax, etc.) are also clearly listed. However, the information is not guaranteed and is for guidance only.

Part-time and mini-job

Those who want to combine a part-time job with a mini note must include:

  • An employee is only allowed to work a total of 8 hours per day . Exception: He may work up to 10 hours a day if his average working time is only 8 hours within six months (§ 3 ArbZG)
  • The employee must observe the rest period. This is the time after the daily working hours that an employee has to take before a new working hour begins. Usually this is 11 hours (§ 5 ArbZG)
  • The employee must obtain written permission from his employer that he can start a mini-job in addition to his part-time work.
part-time work models

Part-time rights and obligations in Germany

Right to part time

‌Every employee has the right to an unlimited reduction in working hours. ( § 8 TzBfG ) The prerequisite for this is that:

  • His employment relationship has been in existence for more than six months. 
  • At least 15 full-time employees work in the company concerned. 
  • There are no operational reasons to prevent this. 

FACT: An operational reason is if the fact that an employee goes part-time would severely impair the work flow, safety or organization in the company or it would cause disproportionately high costs.

Part-time bridge

Since January 1, 2019, there has been the option of bridge part-time (temporary part-time). Working hours will be reduced, but only for a limited period. The part-time working for the bridge is regulated by Section 9a (1) of the TzBfG .

Time-limited reduction of working hours
A worker whose employment has lasted for more than six months may require that their contractually agreed working hours is reduced for a period to be determined in advance. The desired period must be at least one year and may not exceed five years. The employee is only entitled to a temporary reduction in working hours if the employer usually employs more than 45 employees.

§ 9a Paragraph 1 of the TzBfG

The employer can only reject the application for part-time bridge work if there are operational reasons to the contrary or if too many other employees have already made use of the option of part-time bridge work. 

There is a limit to what is reasonable. This states that companies with between 45 and 200 employees do not have to grant more than one part-time bridge for every 15 employees. ( Section 9a (2) of the TzBfG )

FACT: If an employee has already worked part-time on the bridge, he or she must have worked for at least one year before he can apply for a reduction again.

Move from part-time to full-time

‌If an employee works part-time and would like to extend his working hours, he can submit a written application. Then the employer must give preference to the employee when it comes to filling a vacant position. (§ 9, TzBfG )  

The employer has a statement of liability if it rejects the request: He has to prove that a true four reasons:

  • There is no suitable job vacancy 
  • The employee is less suitable than other applicants There are operational reasons that contradict the employee’s wishes 
  • The working time preferences of others are against

Application for part time

  • The employee must apply for a reduction in working hours in writing. He has to do that three months in advance. He must indicate how many hours he would like to reduce the working time and should also indicate the desired distribution. ‌
  • The employer has the duty to discuss part-time work with the employee. The goal is an amicable settlement.
  • If there are no operational reasons to the contrary, the employer must accept the application.
  • If the employer wants to reject the application, he must do so in writing, at least one month before the desired start of the reduction.
  • Has the employer approved or rejected the application? Then two years must pass before the employee can again ask for a reduction in working hours.

FACT: When the employee submits an application, he does not need to give a reason why he wants to go part-time.

Your employer is blocks your application? what now?

‌Your employer cannot simply refuse your application for part-time work. It can therefore help to talk to the employer about your wishes in peace.

According to Section 8 (3) TzBfG, the employer must discuss your wish to work part-time with you, with the aim of reaching an agreement. If there is a business reason, he can refuse. If the employer is unable to provide an operational reason, he must approve your application.

‌Your employer still does not allow you to work part-time? He does not have a good reason for it? Then you should seek advice from an employment law attorney. He knows the legal situation and can assess whether a lawsuit before the labor court has a chance of success. If you file a lawsuit, the labor court will then check whether your employer was allowed to refuse or not. Your employer must then present and prove the operational reason for his rejection before the labor court.

Work on demand

‌Sometimes employers and employees agree that there are no fixed working hours. The employee is on call. This means that the employer informs the employee of his working hours at short notice, depending on when work is likely to be due (§ 12 TzBfG)

In this form of agreement, there are several points to consider:

  • The employer must inform the employee of his working hours at least four days in advance. Otherwise he has no right to demand work.
  • In the agreement, the employer and employee must agree on a weekly working time. If you do not specify this, a weekly one will automatically apply
  • Working time of 20 hours as agreed. Employers and employees must also agree on daily working hours. If you do not specify this, the following applies: The employee always works for at least three hours. The employer may not use his working hours for a shorter period of time.
  • Is there a minimum weekly working time? Then the employer may not employ the employee for more than 25 percent of this additional time.
  • Is there a maximum weekly working time? Then the employer must employ the employee for at least 80 percent of this time.
part-time work models

Promotion and Protection of part-time work

Promotion of part-time work

‌There are measures that help promote part-time work in Germany. Four of them are as follows:

  • There is a job vacancy. Is this not only suitable for full-time work, but also part-time work? Then the employer must also advertise this as part-time work.‌
  • Furthermore, he must inform employees of the company who are interested in part-time work about vacancies. (§ 7 TzBfG)‌
  • The law also provides that the employer enables people in management positions to work part-time. (§ 6 TzBfG)‌
  • A company offers training and further education? Then it is regulated by § 10 TzBfG that the employer must also give part-time employees the opportunity to participate.

Protection of part-time workers

‌In the Part-Time and Temporary Employment Act, there is a paragraph that prohibits discrimination against part-time workers (§ 4 TzBfG)

According to current case law, the following applies:

  • Part-time workers are also allowed to further reduce their working hours.
  • If full-time employees receive night bonuses, part-time employees are also entitled to this. ‌
  • If full-time employees are entitled to Christmas bonus, part-time employees must also receive Christmas bonus. This is calculated pro rata.

List of the 6 part-time work models in Germany

Reduced hours

1. Part-time classic

This model is the classic part-time work model. Work is carried out 5 days a week. Every day has the same number of working hours. The number of hours is lower than for a full-time job.


For a 20-hour week, the employee works 4 hours a day. 
‌With a 30-hour week, the employee works 6 hours a day.

2. Part-time home 

In this part-time work model, the employee works from home. Employees and employers nevertheless agree on fixed working hours to ensure that the employee can be reached. The employee’s personal responsibility is higher. At the same time, it saves travel times. The employee works two to five days. A combination of part-time and full-time is also possible here.

Shared workplace

3. Part-time job sharing

As part of the job sharing model, two employees can share a full-time position. This is possible if they have a high level of personal responsibility, regularly exchange ideas and coordinate with one another. 

Job sharing is particularly useful when the employees complement each other well with their skills and strengths. ‌

  • Through job sharing, a part-time worker can also take on a full-time project. He is in charge of the project, but shares the work with a colleague.
  • Usually, many doctors also rely on job sharing, for example in the form of group practices.
  • Job sharing is also becoming more and more common in management positions. Because managers often work more than full-time, some around 60 hours a week. If two people share the work, each person works a 30-hour week.


If both employees are employed for 20 hours each, they could both work part-time and take on 4 hours a day. Or employees split the week in half: employee X works 8 hours on Mondays and Tuesdays and 4 hours on Wednesdays. Employee Y works 8 hours on Thursdays and Fridays and 4 hours on Wednesdays.

4. Part-time team

The employer stipulates that a certain number of employees must be present in certain periods of time. As a team, the employees then agree on how they will divide their working hours. This gives the employees a high degree of flexibility.

‌‌This model is particularly suitable for companies that have long service times and ensures better customer orientation and optimal capacity utilization.

Take time out

5. Part-time Invest

More and more people are taking time off from work. They use this for a trip or further training. In doing so, they use the part-time Invest model. An employee initially continues to work full-time, but receives a lower salary. The difference is credited to either a time account or a value account. If the employee then takes a break, there is continued salary payment because he has already earned the money. The social security is given consistently.


An employee works 40 hours a week but only receives 30 hours of pay. So he collects 10 hours a week as time credit. After three years, the employee can take one year off.

6. Part-time season

During the season the employee works full-time. Then there are again months in which he is released because the workload is low. The salary remains the same throughout the year and is only part of the full-time salary. The employer thus prevents layoffs and saves the search for new employees for the next high season. 


An employee works full-time for 3 months twice a year. He has the other six months off. The monthly salary is half of a full-time salary throughout the year.

part-time work models

Frequently Asked Questions about part-time work and part-time work models in Germany

What is part-time work?

An employee works part-time if his weekly hours are regularly shorter than those of a comparable employee who works full-time. If, for example, full-time is set at 40 hours in a company, an employee who works 39 hours or less is employed part-time. Marginal employment also counts as part-time work.

How can I work part-time during parental leave?

An employee may not work more than 30 hours a week during parental leave. If an employee wishes to reduce their hours during parental leave, this is usually possible under certain conditions.

The employee must have been with the company for more than 6 months. At least 15 employees must be employed in this. He has to make his claim 7 weeks in advance. If there are no urgent operational reasons against it, nothing stands in the way of part-time employment.

Am I entitled to vacation part-time?

Yes, an employee is also entitled to vacation if they work part-time. This is not calculated according to the working hours, but according to the number of weekly working days. The employee is entitled to at least 4 vacation days per weekly working day.

Do I have a right to work part-time?

Yes. Every employee has the right to reduce their working hours indefinitely. The prerequisite for this is that the employee has been working for the company for more than 6 months and that it has at least 15 full-time employees. There are also no operational reasons to contradict it. (High cost, impairment of work flow, etc.)

Read more: In Germany, every employee has the right to part-time work

Can I switch from part-time to full-time?

Those who want to switch from part-time to full-time work have good chances. The employee submits a written application and the employer must give preference to it when it comes to filling a free full-time position. If the employer rejects the application, he must be able to explain in detail and be able to prove what speaks against it.

How can I apply for part time?

The employee must submit the application in writing at least 3 months in advance. He indicates by how much he would like to reduce his working hours and also the distribution over the week. The employer is obliged to discuss the desire to work part-time with the employee. The goal is an agreement. The employer may only refuse if there are operational reasons to the contrary.

What part-time models are there?

There are various part-time models. The classic model, for example, provides for a steady reduction in hours so that people continue to work 5 days a week, but fewer hours per day. In a model called job sharing, two part-time employees share a full-time position. There are also models in which the employee works full-time but only has part of it paid off. So he saves a credit so that he can take a longer break.


Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany


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