I am offered an Engineering job in Bayern area, but since I'm not very familiar with convention/custom of German job contract, I have some doubt with the contract, namely:

  • No overtime regulation clause (means they don't recognize overtime?)
  • No bonus regulation clause (no bonus scheme/supplement at all, fixed payment?)
  • No annual pay-rise clause (is it something one should negotiate later?)
  • No healthcare clause (there is pension, though) (I have to take public insurance by myself as I am an non-EU national)

A basic check against http://ec.europa.eu/eures/main.jsp?lang=en&acro=living&catId=8270&parentId=7778&countryId=DE&langChanged=true (Employment contracts) seems to check out though, with some exception:

  • name and address of the employee ( ✓ )
  • name and address of the employer ( ✓ )
  • place of work ( ✓ ) description of duties ( ✓ )
  • date on which employment commenced ( ✓ )
  • duration of probationary period ( ✓ )
  • in the case of fixed-term contracts, duration of the contract( n/a)
  • in the case of open-ended contracts, permissible termination
  • date and required periods of notice ( ✓ )
  • weekly or daily working hours ( ✓ )
  • amount of remuneration and of any supplements ( ✓ - Only salary)
  • timing and method of payment ( x no mention, is it ok?)
  • leave allowance ( x - there is clause about allowed vacation in days, I believe it's paid leave)
  • reference to collective agreements and to works and service agreements ( x )

Is this kind of condition is to be expected for a German contract? what should I be aware of?

The company itself is a medium sized company (80+ people) which is subsidiary of larger, multi-national company. In additio the salary is on slightly higher than the region average. (to give context about legitimacy)

I'm not sure what information/context I should add, feel free to suggest if some info are missing and I will update it immediately.

  • 12
    in Germany, you're required to get health insurance (in all typical cases), your employer is required to pay roughly half of it. There's nothing in the contract because it's handled by law.
    – user26048
    Feb 12, 2018 at 9:10
  • 5
    " Anything beyond 37,5 hours (total work time) per week is almost unheard of." 40 hours is also common practice. Overtime also depends on company culture / age of company. Is it a startup or well established company? If the salary is already above regional average, this could point to the expectation of some overtime.
    – FooTheBar
    Feb 12, 2018 at 10:02
  • 3
    About holidays, it is mandatory by law to get a certain amount of days off (paid). Also, if they write "days off" in their contract, and do not write "unpaid", it's about 100% sure that the days are paid.
    – Mafii
    Feb 12, 2018 at 10:02
  • 6
    I wouldn't say that overtime is "very exceptional" in Germany, and a 40 hour-week is also very common. Overtime defaults to the law regulations if nothing is specified.
    – Lennart
    Feb 12, 2018 at 11:11
  • 3
    If you are moving to Germany for this job – probably with a §19a Blaue Karte (blue card) visa – you should definitely check out Expatriates and spend some time on make-it-in-germany.com, which has a lot of valueable information. Often employers will pay for a German class, but as someone who came in fresh you might also be entitled to free classes in the beginning. Talk to Ausländerbehörde about that when you go there about your visa. If you know anyone from Germany, let them read the work contract to get an opinion.
    – simbabque
    Feb 12, 2018 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


Exactly what is "to be expected" in a German employment contract varies (by industry, type of job, etc.), but I'll try to give some general guidelines.

Overall, this does not look that unusual. To address your points:

No overtime regulation clause (means they don't recognize overtime?)

This is a bit unusual - normally handling of overtime is specified (extra payment, flextime...). Without a special clause, laws kick in - in that case, the employer may not order you to work overtime at all (except in emergency situations). If they do order overtime, and you work, it is paid at your regular rate (or you get extra time off instead, but only if you agree).

Consider asking your employer to include rules in the contract - not having the rules specified has caused trouble in the past when overtime was required.

No bonus regulation clause (no bonus scheme/supplement at all, fixed payment?)

In my experience, bonus clauses are uncommon in Germany, at least for non-manager jobs.

No annual pay-rise clause (is it something one should negotiate later?)

Yes, annual rises are typically negotiated each year (or offered automatically by the employer, depending on circumstances).

No healthcare clause (there is pension, though) (I have to take public insurance by myself as I am an non-EU national)

In Germany, health insurance for employees is governed by law (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung), so a special clause is not necessary.

Also note that in Germany, collective agreements (Tarifvertrag) are directly binding - so if there is a collective agreement that applies to your job, the rules from that agreement are binding for you and your employer, without being included in your contract. So some regulations may be missing from your contract because they are covered by the collective agreement. Ask your employer if you are covered by such an agreement, and by which one.

  • The overtime is managed internally by the company, but it is not in contract.. I'm a bit wary, but in this case I have no obligation to work overtime (especially not without incentive). The rest are spot on, thanks!
    – Aachsoo
    Feb 12, 2018 at 19:28
  • 1
    It’s possible that a collective agreement (Tarifvertrag) applies and covers overtime, free days etc.
    – chirlu
    Mar 22, 2018 at 12:23
  • @chirlu: Good point, added to answer.
    – sleske
    Mar 22, 2018 at 12:51
  • tl;dr for "Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung": In Germany, every employee has health insurance which is paid half by the employer and half by the employee. It works quite similar to income tax. The premium is a percentage of your income and it is deducted directly from your wage.
    – Philipp
    Mar 23, 2018 at 14:38
  • 1
    @sleske you could add that not only Tarifverträge are binding, but also Betriebsvereinbarungen where applicable. Employers must give those Betriebsvereinbarungen to employees on demand (in fact they have to present them in an easily accessible place).
    – Ariser
    Oct 30, 2020 at 15:45

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