Social security rights and obligations in the EU
Information about Rights & Duties
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 must have a company number (Betriebsnummer). You can apply for one via the company number service of the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit).
The following are required for this purpose:
- information on the place of employment
- information on the sector
- details of the contact person.
Registration procedure for social security
Employers are required to 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 Collection and Transmission Regulation (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 employees contract begins
- when an employees contract ends
- if the payment of an employees salary is suspended
- if the health insurance provider has changed
- at the end of each calendar year in the form of a yearly notification.
These notifications must be sent to the relevant collecting office. These are the employees health insurance provider or, in the case of marginal employment, the Mini-Jobs Central Agency (Minijob-Zentrale) of the German pension fund Knappschaft-Bahn-See.
The notifications must be sent using certified payroll accounting programs, and all of the data transmitted must be secured and encrypted. Alternatively, it is also possible to use a certified notification assistant such as sv.net. This allows notifications and documentation to be sent securely 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 the health insurance providers or the Mini-Jobs Central Agency.
Deadline for registration
Notification of the start of a new employment relationship must be sent along with the employees first payslip. Such notification must be sent no later than 6 weeks after the start of the employment relationship.
Deadline for deregistration
Notification of the end of an employment relationship must be sent along with the employees next payslip. Such notification must be sent no later than 6 weeks after the end of the employment relationship.
Immediate notification obligation
For people working in the following sectors or industries, the notification of 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
Immediate notification obligation 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 employees 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 is required to calculate the amount of the contributions. The employer is 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 a flat-rate contribution. The employer has exclusive liability for all contributions.
Due payment date of 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 Regulation (Beitragsverfahrensverordnung, BVV). This documentation must be in German, and must be stored on German territory. It forms the basis for the regular company audits.
Brochure - Auf den Punkt gebracht - Meldungen (Notifications in a nutshell)(in German) Brochure - Auf den Punkt gebracht - Beiträge (Contributions in a nutshell)(in German) Brochure - Auf den Punkt gebracht - Versicherung (Insurance in a nutshell)(in German) Information portal for employers(in German) Section 28a of the German Social Code, Part Four [SGB IV](in German) German Data Acquisition and Transmission Decree [DEÜV](in German) German Contribution Procedures Decree [BVV](in German)
Responsible for the content
Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
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