Germany flag Germany: Operating a Business in Germany

Work conditions in Germany

The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 43,562,28543,871,26743,382,544

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 78.06%78.49%79.08%
Men activity rate 82.22%82.74%83.30%
Women activity rate 73.79%74.11%74.73%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Working Conditions

Legal Weekly Duration
Maximum of 48 hours a week
Retirement Age
67 years old
Working Contracts
Employment contracts are usually open-ended, with a trial period that may not exceed six months.

Employment contracts may also be fixed term, which can be renewed a maximum of three times and may last for a maximum duration of two years.
Labour Laws
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the labour regulations that apply to local entreprises

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Cost of Labour

Minimum Wage
Starting from January 2022, the statutory minimum wage is set at €9.82 per hour. Starting from July 2022, the statutory minimum wage will be set at €10.45 per hour. The federal minimum wage applies to almost all employees, including foreign workers, part-time workers, interns (under certain conditions) and people working through a probationary period.
Average Wage
Average annual wage: $ 53,745  (source: OECD, 2020 - latest available data).
Social Contributions
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers: In total, the employer's share of social insurance contributions amounts approximately 20.5% of employee's gross wages:

•    Pension (9.3%),
•    Health (7.3%),
•    Unemployment (1.2%),
•    Nursing care (1.525%),
•    Accident insurance (varies depending on the industrial sector and accident risk),
•    Insolvency (0.12%).
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employees: Social security contributions are generally shared equally by employer and employee. Employees pay approximately 19.3% of gross wages:

•    Pension (9.3%),
•    Health (7.3%),
•    Unemployment (1.2%),
•    Nursing care (1.525%).

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Social Partners

Employer Associations
SIHK - South Westphalian Chamber of Commerce
BDA DIE ARBEITGEBER - Confederation of German Employers‘ Associations
BDI - Federation of German Industries
Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
Unions are strong throughout Germany, but the eastern side of Germany is more union-oriented than the west. The overwhelming majority of union members are part of eight unions, each grouped by industry or service sector. They are each affiliates of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB), which counted 6.3 million members in 2009.

At the company level, works councils represent the interests of workers vis-à-vis their employers. German labour unions are generally constructive in their cooperation with employers, as securing jobs is one of the unions' core objectives.

Since 2012, Germany experienced a considerable rise in the number of strike days, as labour unions sought greater benefits from Germany’s strong economic recovery.

Labour Unions
IG Metall
Unionisation Rate
Labour Regulation Bodies
Ministry of Agriculture
Deutscher Bauernverband

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Latest Update: November 2023