Germany

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Country Snapshot

The GPS Country Snapshot includes 25 sections of information about labor law compliance in Germany. See a sample of popular sections below.

Termination of Employment

Notice for an employer seeking to terminate an employment relationship ranges from four weeks for employees with less than two years of service, to seven months for employees with more than 20 years of service. Notice must be given in writing. Termination without notice can only be given if there is good cause.

An employee may terminate the employment relationship with a notice period of four weeks to the fifteenth or the end of a calendar month. In case of termination during the probationary period, the notice period is two weeks. Collective bargaining agreements can provide for shorter notice periods.

Work Permits

Citizens of the European Union, as well as citizens of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the Republic of Korea, can apply for their residence permit for work purposes after entering Germany without a visa. Citizens of other countries are required to apply for and obtain a visa for work purposes before entering Germany. After the application has been approved by the Aliens’ Office and by the Work Office, the Embassy will issue a residence permit in the form of a visa, which includes an authorization permitting work in Germany. There is no need for an extra work permit after arriving in Germany.

For Non-EU Nationals, there are three residence permits for work purposes:

  • General employment
  • Specialist professional
  • Self-employed

Paid Annual Leave

According to the German Maternity Protection Act, female employees are entitled to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave: six weeks of prenatal leave, and eight weeks of postnatal leave. The postnatal leave may be extended to 12 weeks if the female worker gives birth to a child with a disability, or in the case of premature birth or multiple births. Employers cannot terminate the employment contract of a female employee during her pregnancy.  

Female workers, even if unemployed, are entitled to paid maternity leave for the six weeks of prenatal leave, the day of the delivery, and the eight weeks of postnatal leave (12 in case of multiple or premature births). The paid maternity leave is calculated at a rate of 100% of the average regular net wages over the last three months before the prenatal maternity leave period. This benefit - up to EUR 13 (euros) per day - is paid by the mother’s health insurance and the employer, who covers the difference between the money provided by the health insurance and the mother’s previous earnings.

The benefits are paid directly to the mother by the employer, who can then apply for reimbursement from the relevant health insurance institution. Benefits for mothers with an income below EUR 390 per month are paid by the mother's health insurance alone and match their prior income. 

Working Hours

The working hours are regulated by the Hours of Work Act, which states that a regular, full-time workday may not exceed eight hours. There is a ten-hour limit, including overtime, as long as an eight-hour average is maintained over six calendar months. Employees must have an uninterrupted rest period of at least eleven hours after the end of daily working hours. Young people under 18 years of age cannot be employed more than 8 hours a day and not more than 40 hours a week. They must have a daily rest of at least 12 hours.

These limits can be extended in emergency situations when work cannot be postponed, in extraordinary circumstances, or if agreed upon in collective agreements.

Maternity Leave

According to the German Maternity Protection Act, female employees are entitled to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave: six weeks of prenatal leave, and eight weeks of postnatal leave. The postnatal leave may be extended to 12 weeks if the female worker gives birth to a child with a disability, or in the case of premature birth or multiple births. Employers cannot terminate the employment contract of a female employee during her pregnancy.  

Female workers, even if unemployed, are entitled to paid maternity leave for the six weeks of prenatal leave, the day of the delivery, and the eight weeks of postnatal leave (12 in case of multiple or premature births). The paid maternity leave is calculated at a rate of 100% of the average regular net wages over the last three months before the prenatal maternity leave period. This benefit - up to EUR 13 (euros) per day - is paid by the mother’s health insurance and the employer, who covers the difference between the money provided by the health insurance and the mother’s previous earnings.

The benefits are paid directly to the mother by the employer, who can then apply for reimbursement from the relevant health insurance institution. Benefits for mothers with an income below EUR 390 per month are paid by the mother's health insurance alone and match their prior income. 

Minimum Wage

The government of Germany has increased the nationwide minimum wage effective from January 2024 to EUR 12.41 (Euros), increasing it to EUR 12.82 from January 2025. Therefore, collective bargaining agreements with wages below EUR 12.41 are no longer permissible as of January 2024.

Sectoral minimum wages may be higher than the statutory minimum wage and are adjusted in accordance with the Basic Collective Agreements Act (Basis Tarifvertragsgesetz), the Posting of Workers Act (Arbeitnehmerentsendegesetz), and the Act on the Provision of Temporary Workers (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz).

Country Profile

The GPS Country Profile contains detailed information on over 60 topics related to labor law compliance within Germany.
  • Type of Employment Relationship
  • Permanent Employment
  • Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts
  • Temporary Employment Contracts
  • Part-time Employment
  • Young Worker Employment
  • Vendors and Independent Contractors
  • Types of Contracts
  • Probationary Period
  • Termination of the Contract of Employment
  • Grounds for Termination
  • Notice of Dismissal
  • Fair Dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Suspension of Contract of Employment
  • Severance Benefits
  • Hours of Work
  • Work Week and Timekeeping
  • Night Work and Shift Work
  • Overtime
  • Remote Work
  • Required Time Off
  • Public Holidays
  • Annual Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Maternity
  • Other Forms of Leave
  • Social Insurance and Retirement
  • Social Security Contribution
  • National Retirement Scheme
  • Dependents’/Survivors Benefit
  • Life and Disability Insurance/Benefit
  • Statutory Allowances
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Minimum Wage (Basic Wage)
  • Bonuses, Profit Sharing and Other Compensation
  • Medical Insurance
  • Work Environment
  • Workplace Safety and Health
  • Prohibition of Discrimination
  • Prohibition of Harassment
  • Data Protection and Privacy
  • Whistleblowers and Retaliation
  • Workers’ representation in the organization
  • Freedom of Association
  • Registration and Recognition of Unions
  • Trade Union Personality
  • Collective Bargaining and Agreements
  • Disputes and Settlements
  • Strikes and Lockouts
  • Unfair Labor Practices
  • Taxation of Compensation and Benefits
  • Income Tax
  • Taxation of Employee Benefits
  • Tax Filing and Payment Procedures
  • Double Tax Relief and Tax Treaties
  • Visas and Work Permits
  • Visas
  • Work Permits and Residence Permits

 Country Snapshot

Get the full Country Snapshot with 25 sections of information about labor law in Germany.