Wages in Germany

“Brutto”, “Netto”, “Lohnsteuer”, “Solidaritätszuschlag”, “Sozialversicherung”, “Rentenversicherung” – these all confuse you? As a trainee your salary is called “training allowance” (“Ausbildungsvergütung”). It is far below the usual salary that already trained workers get. The amount is mostly determined in collective wage agreements (“Tarifvertäge”). Trainees who do a school-based training are usually not paid any training allowance. Moreover, they are often required to pay school fees.

If you get less than 9168 Euros a year, you don't have to pay any taxes. Otherwise, you are treated as every other employee and therefore have to pay “Lohnsteuer” (income tax), “Sozialabgaben” (social security taxes for old-age pension insurance, health insurance, nursing care insurance and unemployment insurance) and “Solidaritätszuschlag” (solidaritiy surcharge: additional pay deduction to finance the economic rehabilitation of former East Germany).

Gross salary/ net salary

The gross salary (“Bruttogehalt”) is the higher figure. It is the amount of money that your employer needs to pay. Tax and insurance contributions are deducted from this figure. What remains for you in the end is the net salary (“Nettogehalt”).

Christmas bonus and holiday pay

Christmas bonus, similar to holiday pay, is an extra payment that comes in addition to your annual salary. You can be granted both Christmas bonus and holiday pay. It may also be the case, that you get none of them. This depends on your company. If it is determined in your training contract/ contract of employment or in any collective wage agreement, you are of course entitled to get it and can claim for it.

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