Social security

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Germany has a well-organised social security system which will safeguard you, the employee, against the most serious risks you may encounter during your stay in Germany, for example workplace accidents or unemployment.

Once in Germany, you will be sent a social security number. This number must be given to your employer, who will ask you for it in any case. Make sure you do not lose your number, as you will need it again if you start a new job.

Your social security contributions will be paid directly to the insurers by your employer.

If you work in Germany, you will generally be registered for the following five insurances:


Statutory health insurance

To ensure that any illness does not become a financial liability for you, the statutory health insurance funds will protect you and your family in the event of illness. Health insurance will cover the cost of visits to a doctor as well as many medications. You will be spoilt for choice, as Germany has a great number of health insurance funds to choose from. Should you not be satisfied with your fund, it is possible to switch to another.

Membership of a statutory health insurance scheme currently costs 15.5% of your gross annual income – you contribute 8.2% and your employer 7.3%.

More information on the subject can be found in the section on health insurance. Krankenversicherung

Long-term care insurance

Long-term care insurance provides you with protection should you fall permanently ill and become unable to work. If this occurs, the insurance will bear the costs of your care.

Membership of a statutory long-term care insurance scheme currently takes up 2% of your gross annual income. You contribute 1.2% and your employer 0.8%.

Accident insurance

In Germany, this insurance protects you from high costs which may arise from an accident in the workplace. It will bear the costs of medical treatment and reintegration into professional life following a workplace accident. Membership of an accident insurance scheme is free to you, as all contributions are paid by the employer.

Unemployment insurance

Unemployment insurance provides you with an income for a certain period should you become unemployed.  The only condition is that you must have been insured for at least one year over the past two years, and actively be seeking work. In this respect you will receive assistance from the Federal Employment Agency, which will aid you in your job search.

Membership of an unemployment insurance scheme currently takes up 3% of your gross annual income; you and your employer each contribute 1.5%.


Pension scheme

The statutory pension scheme will pay you a pension during your retirement. Contributions depend on your salary and on how long you have worked in Germany.

Should you leave Germany, you will nonetheless keep your claim to a German pension. As soon as you reach retirement age, any EU or EEA member state in which you have worked is obliged to pay you a pension according to the relevant terms. If, for instance, you have worked in Germany and Spain, you will receive pension payments from both countries.

Membership of a statutory pension scheme currently absorbs 19.6% of your gross annual income, of which you and your employer each contribute 9.8%.