Working conditions

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Employment Contract

Your employment contract contains essential information about your job, including your salary, holidays, working hours and notice periods. Make sure you understand everything before signing.

Video employment contract

What is an employment contract?

If you have been accepted for a job, you will usually receive an employment contract afterwards. However, an employment contract can also be concluded with a handshake. To avoid misunderstandings, however, you should insist on a written contract. 

The employment contract defines the rights and obligations between the employee and employer for the duration of the employment relationship. Among other things, the employee is obliged to carry out his or her work, follow the employer's instructions and not disclose any company secrets. The employer is obliged to pay wages and social security contributions (including in the event of illness) and to grant vacation. 

What should be included in the employment contract?

Before you sign the employment contract and return it to the employer, you should check it carefully, in particular the following details should be written down in the employment contract:

Title and job description
What will your tasks in the company include?

Name and address of the contracting parties
Both your name and the name of your employer belong here.

Start and duration of the employment
From what date are you an official employee of the company?
Is your contract valid for a limited time only?

Note: A time limit ('Befristung') must be agreed upon in writing, otherwise the employment contract is deemed valid for an indefinite period.

Working hours
How many hours do you have to work each week?
Note: A full-time job in Germany generally covers 40 hours per week. It is also possible to work part-time.

Do you work in shifts or do you have flexible working hours? What days do you have to work? Do you have a 5 or 6-day week?
Note: As a rule, a daily working time of 8 hours is permitted. If you are not sure whether your working hours are acceptable, please contact us.

Duration of the probationary period
How long does your probationary period last?
Note: The maximum is six months. During this period, both you and the company can terminate the contract on short notice.

Notice periods
If you or your company wish to terminate the employment contract, how long in advance should there be given notice?
Note: The notice periods is often extended the longer you work for a company. You can read more about termination and the termination agreement in our article.

How much money will you earn for your work? Will the company pay you extra pay or bonuses on top of your normal pay, for example at Christmas or for weekend work? Is the minimum wage paid? When does the company pay your wages - at the end or beginning of the month? 
Note: Usually, the salary is agreed as gross remuneration. Taxes and charges for social insurance such as health, long-term care, pension and unemployment insurance are deducted from this amount.

Fixed term period
Is the employment relationship limited in time (i.e. does it end on a certain date)?
Note: Always have a repeated fixed term ('Befristung') checked, as this is not always permissible (this means that the fixed term may no longer be an option and you could be given a permanent employment contract). You must register as unemployed with the Federal Employment Agency 3 months before your employment contract expires. If you do this later, you may receive less unemployment benefit or none at all.

How many days of paid leave can you take each year? Note: If you work five days a week, you have a statutory minimum entitlement of 20 days' vacation per year. This means that your employer must grant you 20 days' vacation. You have a right to this. Mini-jobbers are also entitled to the statutory minimum entitlement of 20 days' vacation.

Collective, company or service agreements
Do other regulations apply to the employment contract, for example collective agreements?
Note: In addition to the employment contract, special regulations often apply. For example, employers’ organisations and trade unions have concluded collective agreements in many sectors. Collective agreements can, for example, regulate wages, bonuses or vacation entitlements. Companies can also sign contracts with their works councils as employee representatives. These are called works agreements. Whether such contracts apply to you may have to do with your employment contract.

In case of illness
If you fall ill, you must report this to your employer immediately. If your illness lasts for more a certain amount of time (generally 1-3 days, depending on your contract), you must submit a doctor's note to your employer. Your employer will pay your full salary for six weeks. After those six weeks, your health insurance will pay 70 percent of your salary if you have public health insurance. There are different rules if you have a private health insurance. In this case, please ask your health insurance company directly.


You are welcome to have your employment contract checked at the Hamburg Welcome Center before signing it. Take the employment contract home with you to look at. Of course you are happy about the new job, but don't rush into anything.

Please feel free to contact us.