Business, work and life in Germany in English

Documents and data required for official employment in Germany, the employment contract subject-matter

This article provides information on what documents or data are required from a person when applying for a job in Germany, as well as information on the employment contract subject-matter. Information on how to draft a resume and other documents for job search in Germany is contained on a dedicated page of the website. You can find out what documents are required to obtain a visa and work permit in Germany for citizens of other countries on a dedicated page of our website.

§ List of documents and data about a person required for employment in Germany

When applying for a job in Germany, a new employee has to provide the following documents and information about themselves:

The documents indicated in the list, with the exception of certificates, are not kept by the employer, they are required to verify and obtain accurate information. As a rule, the employer makes copies of these documents and gives them back to the new employee.

Permit to stay and work in Germany (Aufenthaltserlaubnis & Arbeitsgenehmigung)

When hiring a foreigner, an enterprise in Germany has to make sure that the person has the right to work in Germany. Therefore, if a new employee does not have the German citizenship, s/he has to produce a work permit. Read more about who has to obtain a permit to work in Germany and in what way on an individual page of our website.

Social security card (Sozialversicherungsausweis)

The most important document in Germany that is required for official employment is a social security card, in Germany it is no less important than a passport. This document is issued by the German Pension Fund, it contains the person's insurance number in the state pension insurance system. This number is used to deduct pension insurance contributions from the employees salaries.

If the new employee does not yet have a social security card, the employer usually requests this document to be issued for him or her, or the employee can do it themselves by contacting their health insurance company.

Taxpayer Identification Number (Steueridentifikationsnummer)

So that the employer can deduct the income tax for the employee to the tax office, the employee has to tell him/ her their Taxpayer Identification Number and the date of birth. Then the employer will notify the tax office about the employee receiving the salary/ wages and the amount of tax withheld and paid.

This number can be found in the employment tax statement (Lohnsteuerbescheinigung), which is issued to the employee upon dismissal, as well as in letters and findings received earlier from the tax office.

For the first time this number is reported to the person by mail after their first registration at the passport office in Germany. This number can be requested from the tax office at the place of residence registration. The contact details of the tax office at the place of residence registration can be found on the website of the Federal Tax Service on the tax office search, page, indicating your city or ZIP code.

Health insurance card (Versichertenkarte or Mitgliedsbescheinigung)

In order to confirm the availability of medical insurance, as well as to obtain information, to which health insurance company to transfer insurance contributions from the employee's salary/ wages, the employer may require a certificate of membership in the insurance company (Mitgliedsbescheinigung, Bestätigung der Mitgliedschaft). This certificate can be requested in your health insurance company; when holding certain types of insurance, this can be done via the Internet. However, the employer does not always require the provision of such a certificate; often it is enough to simply produce your health insurance card.

Certificate of leave from the previous place of work (Urlaubsbescheinigung)

When changing jobs, the former employer has to provide the employee with a certificate of the vacation already taken in the current year. This certificate is used by the new employer to determine how many vacation days should be given to the employee in the current year. However, not many employers require such a certificate from a newly hired employee.

Other documents (as required)

In addition, in some cases, the employee may have to provide other documents, if required by law or, if necessary, in special cases. Below you can find a list of such documents:

Schwerbehindertennachweis disability confirmation, for the disabled
Gesundheitsbescheinigung health certificate, for young people when employed for the first time
Gesundheitscheck health examination certificate; in some professions: in medicine, when working with food products, etc.
Kindergeldbescheinigung certificate of receiving child benefits, for government employees only
Unterlagen für vermögenswirksame Leistungen(VL) documents on funded payments, for example, in case an LBS-Bausparkonto account is set up
Various certificates and permits when performing the work, for which the said permit is required

§ Employment record book in Germany

Please note that in Germany there is no such a thing as an “employment record book”. This document is used in other countries, for example, in Russia, but in Germany such a document is not available, therefore, it is not necessary to produce it when applying for a job. An employment record book with entries from another country may be useful in finding a job, as it confirms the qualifications and work experience of the applicant, but it is not required for an official job placement. In Germany, upon dismissal from work, a person is issued an Employment reference, which serves as confirmation of work experience, but it is required only when looking for a job.

In Germany, employment records for employees are not kept, employment references are used instead.

§ Employment contract in Germany: subject-matter, main points

An employment contract in Germany is usually in writing, although this is not absolutely necessary. An employment contract may not necessarily be in German, although in the event of a lawsuit, translation into German will be mandatory.

The following are the main points of an employment contract in Germany, which you should definitely pay attention to before signing it. Of course, not all of them are included in the contract, there can also be some other important points, depending on the type of labour activity or field of activity.

Along with the employment contract, the employee may have to sign a non-disclosure agreement, an agreement on the personal data management, etc. Besides, other documents effective at the enterprise may be provided for review and guidance.

For illustrative purposes, you can view a sample employment contract in German, from IHK Frankfurt am Main, in the DOC - MS Word format.

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