BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Employment law

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Employment law

A full-time job in Germany equates to 40 hours per week. It is also possible to have a part-time job.

Working hours

The maximum working hours per week are restricted by law to an average of 48 hours (60 hours with time off in lieu to give 48 hours within a 6-month period).

You will normally work Monday to Friday. The law permits employment on any working day of the week (Monday to Saturday) as well as night and shift work.

In many areas, such as in healthcare, catering and transport, work is also permitted on Sundays and public holidays.

Holiday entitlement

Anyone who works five days per week has a legal entitlement to a minimum of 20 days' holiday per year.

Juveniles who work a five-day week are legally entitled to longer holidays: a minimum of 25 days for the under-16s, a minimum of 23 days for the under-17s and a minimum of 21 days for the under-18s.


If you are ill, your employer will pay your full salary for a period of six weeks.

If you are ill for longer than six weeks and have statutory insurance, your health insurance fund will pay 70 percent of your wage. Different rules apply in the case of private health insurance funds. You should enquire with your health insurance fund directly.

It is important that you let your employer know immediately if you are ill. If you are ill for longer than three days, you must submit a certificate (sick note) from your doctor to your employer by no later than the fourth day. However, your employer is also entitled to request that you submit a doctor's certificate at an earlier stage.

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If you are ill, you do not have to tell your employer what is wrong with you. This information is subject to medical confidentiality, and for this reason is also not mentioned on the certificate that your doctor will provide for submission to your employer.

Protection against unfair dismissal

The German Protection Against Unfair Dismissal Act (Kündigungsschutzgesetz), which provides protection against dismissal which is not justified in social terms, applies to companies with more than ten employees.

Special protection against dismissal is enjoyed for example by works council members, by pregnant women and by mothers who are in employment (for up to four months after the birth of their child), by employees who are taking parental leave and by persons with severe disabilities.

The longer you work for a company, the longer your statutory period of notice if your employer wishes to terminate your employment. However, periods of notice may also be stipulated in a wage agreement that applies to your job.

Date 17 December 2015

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