Social security rights and obligations in the Union (registering as employer, registering employees, notifying the end of contract of an employee, paying social contributions, rights and obligations related to pensions)
Anyone working in Germany is in principle subject to German social security law. Exceptions may apply to cross-border workers, for example if someone is only working temporarily in Germany but is employed in a different country, or if someone is carrying out their work in multiple countries.
Registering as an employer
In order to be able to participate in social security procedures, employers require a company registration number. You can apply for one via the company registration number service of the Federal Employment Agency [Bundesagentur für Arbeit]. To do so, you will need to provide information about the place of employment and sector of industry, as well as contact details of a contact person.
Registration procedure for social security
Employers must register their employees for social security in accordance with Section 28a of the German Social Code, Part Four [ Sozialgesetzbuch Viertes Buch SGB IV], regardless of the form of employment (fixed-term/permanent/marginal/temporary). Detailed provisions are set out in the German Data Acquisition and Transmission Decree (DEÜV). Each employee will receive confirmation that they have been registered.
Certain notifications must be submitted at regular intervals, and others as a result of specific events. For example, notifications must be submitted:
- when an employee's contract begins;
- when an employee's contract ends;
- in the event that payment of an employee's salary is suspended;
- in the event of a change of health sickness insurance institute;
- at the end of each calendar year in the form of an annual report.
These notifications must be sent to the relevant collecting office. This will be the employee's sickness insurance institute or, in the case of marginal employment, the Mini-Jobs Central Agency [Minijob-Zentrale] of the German pension fund Knappschaft-Bahn-See.
The notifications are sent from certified payroll accounting programs, and all of the data transmitted is secured and encrypted. Alternatively, it is possible to use a certified notification assistant such as sv.net. This allows you to securely send notifications and documentation online.
Notifications can be issued either by the employer, or by a service provider working on their behalf.
Further information about the notification procedure can be obtained from sickness insurance institutes or the Mini-Jobs Central Agency.
Deadline for registration
Notification of the start of a new employment relationship must be sent along with the employee's next payslip. This must be no later than 6 weeks after the start of that employment relationship.
Deadline for deregistration
Notification of the end of an employment relationship must be sent along with the employee's next payslip. This must be no later than 6 weeks after the end of that employment relationship.
Instant registration obligation
For people working in one of the following sectors or industries, registration must take place as soon as they start employment:
- Hotels and catering
- Passenger transport
- Freight, transportation and related logistics
- Cleaning of buildings
- Companies involved in setting up and dismantling trade fairs and exhibitions
- Meat and meat processing
The instant registration does not replace regular registration within the social security system.
Payment of contributions
Contributions towards sickness, nursing care and unemployment insurance or pension schemes are calculated as a determined percentage of each employee's pay. Taken together, they form the total social security contribution. This comprises both the employer and employee contributions.
Contributions taken from employees' pay are only collected up to the amount of the relevant social security contribution assessment ceiling. The assessment ceiling is determined each year in advance for the following calendar year.
The employer will calculate the amount of contributions. They are responsible for deducting the employee contribution owed by the insured person from their wage or salary, and for transferring it along with the employer contribution to the relevant social security contribution collecting office. For those in marginal employment (mini-jobs), the employer pays flatrate contributions.
The employer has exclusive liability for all contributions.
The total social security contribution is due on the third-to-last banking business day of the month in which the work being remunerated was carried out. Any outstanding balances are due with the next payment on the third-to-last banking business day of the following month.
The employer must issue a contribution statement to the collecting office indicating the amount of the contributions due for the month in question by the fifth-to-last banking business day of that month. The contribution statement may also take the form of a fixed statement, which applies until a new contribution statement is issued.
Employers must hold payment records for each of their employees in accordance with Section 28f of the German Social Code, Part Four. The specific details are set out in the German Contribution Procedures Decree [ Beitragsverfahrensverordnung , BVV].
This documentation must be in German, and must be stored on German territory. It forms the basis for the regular company audits.
Responsible for the content
Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
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