LIVING & WORKING IN GERMANY
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It takes a little time to adjust to the German attitude to work. People don't tend to work long hours but there is a strong emphasis on efficiency. It is not a ‘chatty’ work culture, and working hours tend to be highly productive with socializing generally confined to official break periods. The upside is that office hours are usually flexible and many people finish at 2pm on Fridays.
it also pays to be punctual in the German workplace. German employers take a dim view of staff who turn up late for work or meetings.
Germans are often straightforward and assertive in a business setting, but they may not make too much small talk. You can break the ice easily by chatting about international travel, sports (especially football/soccer), business issues, movies or hiking and outdoor activities.
German salaries are among the highest in the world. Most graduate jobs start from €30,000/year. The minimum wage for unqualified work is €8.50 per hour.
The tax rate for a single person with a salary of 50k is 24% and 20% for a married couple with a joint annual income of 80k. German social security contributions (Sozialversicherungen) are quite high. The employer matches the employee contributions which are as follows:
- health insurance (7,7% capped at 48,600 pa)
- old age care (1,025% (also capped at 48,600 pa)
- unemployment benefits (1,5%, capped at 71,400 pa)
- pension (9,5%, capped at 71,400 pa)
The German health care system has the reputation of being one of the best in the world. There is an extensive network of hospitals and doctors covering even the remotest areas of Germany. It may be expensive, but German healthcare is excellent. Waiting lists for treatments are rare. Medical facilities are equipped with the latest technology and the statutory health insurance scheme provides nearly full cover for most medical treatments and medicines. Almost everybody in Germany has access to this system, irrespective of income or social status.
People who earn more than €50,000 pa sometimes opt for private insurance instead of the standard statutory insurance. There are some perks but medical treatment is the same. Our consultants can give you more information on the pros and cons of both.
Germany has one of the most highly regulated labour markets in the world, with its labour law designed to protect employees. The minimum annual leave is 20 days, although most employers offer at least 25 days. Maternity and parental leave is excellent. Both parents qualify for "Elternzeit" (parental leave) and their jobs are protected by law until their child turns three. Mothers also have six weeks manadatory paid leave before and eight weeks after the birth.
ACCOMMODATION IN GERMANY
The standard of housing in Germany is very high and most city dwellers live in fairly spacious apartments. 'Neubau' refers to houses built in the 50s or later while 'Altbau' generally refers to housing built before 1914. There was little construction between the wars.
Housing in Germany is either let unfurnished, partly furnished, or fully furnished. Unfurnished accommodation is the most common and it really is "unfurnished", i.e. without lamps, curtains, or any kitchen equipment. A furnished kitchen is usually mentioned separately in advertisements.
Rent is calculated by the size of an apartment in square metres (Quadratmeter - qm). Kitchens, bathrooms and toilets are not included in the room count. A half room indicates an area that cannot be separated by a door or a room that is too small to be fully counted.
HOW TO APPLY FOR AN APARTMENT
The first thing to do is to scan the documents you will need to send to the estate agent or landlord along with your application. Having these online will facilitate the process and greatly increase your chance of success.
You will need the following:
- a 'Schufa' report – i.e. a German credit rating – obtained from www.schufa.de
- Work contract – scan the first 3 pages plus the last page with employer’s signature
- copy of passport
- copy of police registration
www.immobilienscout.de - Germany's most popular webstite for renting or buying property in Germany.
www.wg-gesucht.de - good website for rooms in flatshares.
The Careermoves Team will be happy to assist you with any queries regarding your relocation.