You have applied for a job and been accepted. Congratulations! Nothing now stands between you and a career in Germany. All that is left to do now is to sign the job contract. Before you do, here are a few things to look out for.
Serious employers will always send you a written contract. Read the contract thoroughly from start to finish before signing it. If you do not understand something, this is not a problem: ask the company's personnel department or the personnel officer about it. Orally delivered work contracts are unusual in Germany.
What you should find in a work contract
Every work contract should contain the following information:
- Name and address: yours and that of the company
- Date on which the contract starts: the date on which you officially become an employee of the company (that means: starting from which date is the contract valid?)
- Term of contract: is your contract only valid for a certain period of time? When does it end? The term of the contract must be agreed in writing, otherwise it is considered to be valid for an undetermined period of time.
- Trial period: How long does the trial period last? This is the period during which you or the company can terminate the contract relatively quickly.
- Place of work: where will you be working? If you are to work in different places, this should be stated in the contract.
- Job description: what tasks will you be expected to do in the company?
- Remuneration: how much will you be paid for your work? Will the company pay you supplements or bonuses, for example at Christmas or for working weekends, on top of your normal pay? When does the company pay you – for example, at the end or beginning of the month? Note: the work contract usually states the gross remuneration. From this, certain amounts will be deducted for tax and social contributions, such as health insurance, long-term care insurance, a pension scheme and unemployment insurance.
- Working hours: how many hours a week will you be expected to work?
- Holiday: how many days' leave are you entitled to per year?
- Notice period: how long in advance must you notify the company, or the company notify you, that the work contract is going to be cancelled?
- Collective bargaining agreements and works agreements: often, in addition to the work contract, special regulations also apply. For example, in many branches of industry, employer associations and trades unions have reached collective bargaining agreements. These agreements may regulate questions of remuneration, bonuses or holidays. Companies can also sign special agreements with their Employee Councils, which represent the interests of the employees. These are called works agreements.You can ask your employer if these agreements also apply to you.This may also be stated in your work contract.