Working in Munich?
Working Conditions in Munich
Receiving the Appropriate Wage
Just as in other countries, salaries in Germany depend on various factors: your own qualifications and professional experience, the location and size of the company, and the current economic climate. Introduced in January 2015, the German minimum wage is 8.50 EUR per hour and will be raised to 8.84 EUR as of January 2017.
Skilled workers and employees covered by collective agreements of Germany’s large trade unions tend to have a fairly good income. On the other hand, people in certain jobs — such as temp work or hairdressing — are often underpaid.
Expatriates with excellent qualifications and specialist skills are very likely to have a solid or high income. Jobs in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, as well as in vehicle engineering, are often very well paid.
If you plan on settling in Munich, you should make sure that your salary is at least slightly above the national average. After all, the city has the highest cost of living in Germany.
Employment Contracts and Working Hours
The most common form of employment in Germany is based on an unlimited contract for a full-time position. However, part-time employment, temp work, and so-called “mini jobs” with a monthly salary of 400 or 450 EUR are gradually becoming more common.
The usual number of working hours is 40 per week. However, people in management positions tend to accumulate lots of, often unpaid, overtime, and those working in fields like security, transport, healthcare, or law enforcement frequently have irregular and strenuous work schedules.
When you have signed the contract for your new job in Munich, you’ll start out with a trial period or probationary period of between three and six months. During this period, both you and your boss can give two weeks’ notice. Afterwards, you will have a notice period as agreed between you and your employer.
It’s legally prohibited for an employer to fire their staff at will and with immediate notice unless extraordinary circumstances require it. For example, if an employee is caught stealing money from the cash box, he or she can certainly be laid off at once.
Taking Time for Yourself: Annual Leave
During the trial period, new employees are usually not permitted to take time off, though this may be at the individual company’s discretion. Once the first six months are over, you can make full use of your annual leave. The legal minimum is 20 days per year for an employee with a 5-day work week. However, you may be offered more depending on the company you work for and the length of time you have been working for them. In addition to your regular leave, you will likely have all public holidays off — that is, if they don’t fall on a non-workday and you do not work in a sector that requires your presence, anyway. If you have to work on a public holiday or Sunday, your employer has to provide you with an alternative day off.
Expats who’ll start working in Munich are in luck. With 13 public holidays per year, the inhabitants of Catholic regions in Bavaria have the highest number of days off from school or work in the entire country. If you happen to live and work in the city of Augsburg near Munich, you’ll get a 14th public holiday on top of that. The Augsburg Friedensfest commemorates the end of religious hostilities after the Thirty Years’ War.
Support for New and Established Families
Expat couples with young kids have the opportunity to spend some time with their children while working in Munich: an employee can apply for up to three years of parental leave. After that period, they must be offered a similar position as their old one by their previous employer. At least, that’s the theory. How this regulation works in practice, hampering the careers of stay-at-home mothers, is subject to heated debates.
Moreover, the stay-at-home parent can draw parental benefits for up to 12 months. This allowance amounts to 65–67% of their salary. Generally speaking, parental benefits range from 300 EUR to 1,800 EUR per month. If you wish to return to work part-time, then you are eligible for the so-called parental allowance “Plus” (ElterngeldPlus). This form of parental allowance is for twice as long as the standard parental benefits, but is at most half the amount that would be received by parents who are not working part-time. You must apply for these benefits in writing and it is best to seek advice regarding your eligibility as a foreign national.
Families with kids also receive a family allowance (Kindergeld) for their dependent children, between 184 EUR and 215 EUR per month depending on the number of children in the family. EU nationals, foreign residents with an unlimited settlement permit, and many foreign parents with a standard residence permit which allows them to work are usually entitled to family allowance as well.
For more information on your specific case, please contact the Family Benefits Office (Familiankasse) at your nearest Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit). Expat parents living in Munich can reach the respective Familienkasse Bayern Süd via phone (0800 4 5555 30) or email (Familienkasse-Bayern-Sued@arbeitsagentur.de).
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