What to know before getting a Minijob in Germany

What to know before getting a Minijob in Germany

by Sandra Köktaş

Updated June 14, 2023

A Minijob in Germany is a special form of employment that comes with nearly no taxes and only a few hours of work per week. While these advantages make the Minijob look like the perfect side job, there are also disadvantages. Health insurance and social security will need some extra thought. Read on to find out how to make the most of your German Minijob.  

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What is a Minijob?

If you moved to Germany for work, you may have your eyes set on building a promising career or founding a successful business. But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes all you need is a bit of extra money. 

That’s where the Minijob comes in. 

A Minijob is best defined as a side gig,  but not any side gig qualifies for Minijob status. A Minijob in Germany must adhere toone of the following two scenarios:

First scenario: You earn a maximum of €520 per month or (if your income varies from month to month) your total income in one year does not exceed €6.240. Note that one-off payments such as incentives and bonuses count towards this sum! Because of the limited income a Minijob generates, this type of job is also called Geringfügige Beschäftigung (marginal employment) in German.

Second scenario: You work for only three months or a total of 70 days within a calendar year, in which case the job is called Kurzfristiger Minijob or Kurzfristige Beschäftigung (short-term employment). In this case, there is no cap on your earnings.

The Minijob naturally comes with fewer hours than most other forms of employment. The amount of time you can spend on a Minijob is limited either by the days of work or the amount of money you earn. You must earn at least the minimum pay per hour, as defined by German law.

Minijob rights and policies

It is important that both forms of Minijob guarantee you the same rights as your full-time working colleagues. In other words, all people working in a company must be treated equally under the law. This applies to:

  • Employment contracts
  • Working hours
  • Holidays
  • Sickness and holiday pay
  • Maternity leave
  • Protection against unfair dismissal

To keep it fair for all parties, the days of paid holidays are proportional to the days you actually work. For example, if a full-time employee in your company works five days a week and gets 30 days of paid holidays a year, and you only work three days a week, you multiply your three days of work by the common 30 days of holidays and divide the result by five. In this scenario, you would have 18 days of paid holidays per year.

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A major benefit of Minijobs: Lower taxes

Contrary to common belief, the Minijob is not tax-free. The employer can choose between two forms of taxation:

  • A flat-rate tax of 2% (including church tax) for the classical Minijob
  • Individual taxation through your income tax card (Lohnsteuerkarte)

Taxation then varies depending on factors such as your tax class (Steuerklasse). In many cases, individual taxation is the cheaper option because you only pay taxes for income above the basic income threshold (Grundsicherung). If your Minijob is your only source of income, chances are high that you won’t be paying taxes.

For a short-term Minijob, individual taxation is only possible if you earn a maximum of €62 per day and work for a maximum of 18 consecutive days (and only occasionally). Otherwise, you are automatically taxed at a flat rate of 20%.

Social security and health insurance

Minijobs in Germany are exempt from most social contributions, such as unemployment insurance, long-term care insurance and health insurance. You can even opt out of pension insurance. 

In a marginal job, that leaves you with more money each month. On the downside, you are not entitled to any of the benefits that come with these insurances. And there’s another catch: While you don’t pay health insurance for your Minijob, you are required by law to have health insurance. If you are not insured under the plan of a spouse or parent, or through another form of employment, you still have to sign up and pay for either Pflichtversicherung (compulsory insurance) or Freiwillige Versicherung (voluntary insurance). 

Where can I find a Minijob in Germany?

Can’t wait to earn some extra money now? A good source for all kinds of jobs is Kleinanzeigen. If you want to be part of a bigger company and use the Minijob to get a foot in the door, search the company’s website, LinkedIn or a job portal like Indeed. For the odd job around the house such as housekeeping, the Minijob Zentrale is a good starting point. Students can easily find open positions through their university’s student union. 

Have you found a suitable job? Don’t let yourself be stopped by language barriers. Dive right in and speed up your learning with German lessons!

Work a Minijob in Germany

A Minijob in Germany is a side job that comes with some rules that limit how much you can work and earn. Although the German Minijob is not exempt from taxes, it comes with relatively low incometax and no payments of social contributions. This as well as the short hours you will work in a Minijob in Germany can be an advantage. Just make sure you still have health insurance and consider how to protect yourself when you lose your job or want to retire.

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Sandra Köktas

Sandra lives in Istanbul, together with her kids, cat and dog. As a historian she thrives exploring this ancient city with her two- and four-legged loved ones. Together, they also love to go on adventures through all of Turkey and its neighboring countries. If she’s not on the road, Sandra is busy putting her experiences into writing as a freelance copywriter for the travel industry and everything related to language, culture and family. Her particular interest lies in providing information on animal welfare with her website.

Sandra Köktas

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