In Germany, a written employment contract is the standard. It should contain information such as salary and holiday entitlement. Carefully read the contract before signing it. If there is something you do not understand, there is no reason to fret: ask the HR department or the company's human resources manager. Make sure that all information is correct.
What your employment contract should include
Your employment contract must include the following information:
- Name and address of the employer and the employee.
- Inception of the contract: date on which you start as an employee of the company (i.e.: When does the contract’s validity commence?).
- Time limit: Is your contract limited to a certain period of time? If it is, when does the contract end?
- Probation period: How long is the probation period? This is the period in which you or the company can terminate the contract on short notice.
- Place of work: Where are you going to work? If you will be working in different locations, this should be stated in the contract.
- Job description: What will your tasks in the company entail?
- Remuneration (salary): How much money will you earn for your work? Are there any additional allowances or bonuses, for example on Christmas or for working on weekends? When does the company pay your salary – at the end or at the beginning of the month?
Please note: As a rule, a gross salary is the default case. Taxes and social security contributions such as insurance for health, nursing care, pension and unemployment are deducted from these amounts.
- Working hours: How many hours per week do you have to work?
- Paid leave: How much paid leave can you take per year?
- Notice period: How far in advance must you or the company give notice to inform the other party of the employment relationship’s termination?
- Collective bargaining agreements and company agreements: Special regulations often apply in addition to the employment contract. Employers' associations and trade unions, for example, have concluded collective agreements in many sectors of the economy. Collective agreements can regulate topics such as pay or holiday entitlements. Companies can also conclude agreements within their workers’ council, as the body representing the employee’s interests. These are called company agreements. Feel free to ask your employer for more details about them.
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