What if I want to get a job while I’m studying?
Some students choose to work during their studies to earn extra money. If this is something you’d like to do, we have put together some key information for you here to help you ensure that everything runs smoothly.
There are two different types of employment to consider if you decide to take up a job while you are studying.
The first type involves jobs in which you earn up to €538 per month (which means up to €6456 per year). These are known as part-time jobs, temporary jobs or mini jobs, and are very popular with most students. The salary you earn doing these jobs is not directly taxed, which means it has no impact on your health insurance. This also applies to voluntary work.
If you earn more than €538 per month, you will be insured directly by your employer. With this type of employment, you will be required to pay social security contributions. You must take out statutory health insurance if you previously had private health insurance. In this case, the monthly contribution is deducted directly from your monthly income and transferred to the insurance provider by your employer.
However, there is one exception: if you meet the criteria of a Werkstudent (a specific type of working student), you can continue to be covered by private health insurance. This is the case for most students who work while studying.
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Minimum wage in Germany
Germany has a minimum wage of €12.41 per hour. As such, you should keep in mind that you will reach the €538 earnings limit after working 49 hours per month.
What should I keep in mind if I am a Werkstudent?
All students in Germany are entitled to become a Werkstudent. It is important that you are enrolled as a student at a German university. You must provide proof of this with a valid matriculation certificate.
You cannot take up this kind of employment if you are only preparing to attend university: for example, by taking a preparatory language course or attending a university preparatory college (known as a “Studienkolleg”).
In addition, your main activity should be studying, not working. Otherwise, you will lose the privileges associated with being a Werkstudent. The maximum working limit is 20 hours per week, no matter how much you earn. You are allowed to work more during your semester breaks. After the breaks, however, you must stick to the 20-hour limit again.
How do I insure myself if I am a Werkstudent?
Generally speaking, you do not have to pay social security contributions if you have a Werkstudent contract. This means that you can continue to have private health insurance. You do not have to take out statutory insurance. However, you are still required to pay pension insurance contributions if you are a Werkstudent. In this case, your employer will transfer a part of your contribution directly to the pension insurance provider. This means that you can keep your private health insurance. We recommend that you always ask your employer what kind of work/employment you have or what is written in the employment contract.
What happens if I stop working and I no longer have to pay social security contributions through my job?
If you stop working and no longer have to pay social security contributions through your job, you will have to pay the contributions for your health insurance yourself. The monthly contributions for statutory health insurance are around €110 to €130. The monthly contributions for private insurance are often cheaper, starting at about €35 per month for students. While you were required to pay social security contributions through your job, your employer deducted your contributions from your gross salary and transferred them directly to the health insurance provider.
Overview of the most popular types of part-time student jobs
Other types of employment in Germany:
The health insurance that applies to each type of employment
Private health insurance:
Statutory health insurance:
Private or statutory health insurance:
Can I work several part-time jobs at the same time?
Yes, you can also do that. However, you should always pay attention to the earnings limit of €538 per month, because the earnings from all the different part-time jobs are added together and are not treated individually. If you exceed the earnings limit of €538 per month, you will no longer enjoy the benefits of a part-time job. This means that certain things will change, and you may have to pay income tax and make adjustments to your health insurance.
Do I still have to pay pension insurance contributions if I have a part-time job that earns less than €538 per month?
Yes, you will still have to pay pension insurance contributions even if your part-time job earns less than €5238 per month. A small amount is paid into the pension insurance scheme every month. However, you can get an exemption from this by completing this form and submitting it to your employer.
What happens to the contributions I have paid to the pension insurance scheme?
These contributions are collected in your German pension account. When you retire, your pension benefits will be calculated on this basis and transferred to your account every month. This will happen whether you still live in Germany or have returned to your home country. The Deutsche Rentenversicherung Deutschen Rentenversicherung (German Pension Insurance) website explains the most important information that you need to consider.