I am a student and recently completed an internship at a big software company in Germany. Last week I injured myself badly and finding it difficult to walk. I have my presentation next week at the company about my internship work. Can I ask them to provide a pick-up? Or should I do a taxi on my own expense? The internship contract is already over.
Can I ask them to provide a pick-up? Or should I do a taxi on my own expense?
I would not ask.
Most employers do not take any responsibility for your commute.
Unless the injury was specifically caused by your job, most employers will not have any interest in paying more money for you to commute. In nearly all cases this is considered the employees responsibility.
You could mention this to your boss, in the way "Hey I recently hurt my leg and am not really able to walk so it'd be difficult to get there - it'd be a lot easier for me if we moved the presentation back a week or did it remotely" type of way. It's possible that your boss may offer a taxi, but very unlikely.
In Germany, transportation to or from work is generally not paid by the company. The only exception are remote places you cannot reach by public transport like oil rigs. But even then, you'd have to get to the pick off point by yourself.
One reason for this is that providing transport or payment for transport is considered a "Geldwerter Vorteil" (literally translated: an advantage worth money) that is taxed just as if you got the money that it's worth instead. For example: if your company gets you a free public transportation ticket for a month worth 40€, you will need to pay 20€ to the state as taxes, just as if the company had given you 40€ cash. Obviously, giving someone a free ticket for public transportation who does not use it, is a bad thing. He might go by bike all month and still pay 20€ taxes for the 40€ ticket, even though he did not actually use it. Figuring out individually who could actually profit after taxes from subsidized transportation is too much hassle for any company I know.
If a company says it's subsidizing public transport, that's not true in the true sense of the word. It's not subsidizing. The company is just acting as a reseller, getting a better margin buying the tickets in bulk, so it can sell them to you for a cheaper price. You still pay for them the exact price your company paid, which means you got no "Geldwerter Vorteil" because if you pay 30€ for the ticket, you get something worth 30€, the price listed on the bill from the public transportation company, instead of getting a 40€ ticket for free.
For the injury, even if you were injured on company grounds or time or on the way to or from the company ("Arbeitsunfall"), the company itself would not pay. All your expenses would be covered by the insurance that is mandatory.
So yes, you will have to take a taxi and I would not ask your employer for transport. After all, if he cannot provide any, the only thing he can do is pay the very same taxi. And we already established, that expenses are yours to pay, whether you are healthy or not.
The only exception I can see is if your employer actually is in the business of transporting people. If you need a KTW (KrankenTransportWagen, kind of an ambulance for scheduled, non-emergency cases) to get to work and you work for a rescue service, going through the official channels would probably look strange. Especially arriving in a transport vehicle of a different rescue organisation would probably be frowned upon.
If you have a personal relationship with anyone at the company who lives anywhere near where you do, then I'd consider asking them if they would mind picking you up for this one day as a personal favor. You don't say how long your internship lasted or anything about your relationship with your coworkers, but at the past few jobs I've worked at, at each one I'd say within six months I knew a few people well enough to ask them for this level of (relatively minor) favor. As long as this isn't going very far out of their way, it's really not a big deal - if they're already driving. Of course, if nobody you know drives to work (and in Europe I guess that's more common than in the US), this may not be feasible - but it probably doesn't hurt to ask.
I don't think the company would necessarily do it as a part of doing business, though it certainly doesn't hurt to explain yourself and ask - and perhaps your supervisor would do the same out of a personal favor. Again - it doesn't hurt to ask. I wouldn't expect it, but give them the available information, and let them make their decision.
It's definitely worth explaining your injury, especially if you finished your internship on good terms. After hearing your story, the company has options: they can tell you no, you need to get your own transport, they can provide transport, or they can either cancel or reschedule the presentation. It's very unlikely that politely explaining your new circumstances (you can't walk much) will burn any bridges. At worst, you'll be in the same situation you are now, having to find your own transportation.
The closer you are to the workplace, the more likely it is you can get a ride, either with an employee or by taxi. This is not something the company owes you, but a company is made up of individuals who will probably be sympathetic to your circumstances. If you are nearby, ask your boss first, and then anyone else you may have become close to at the company. Explain your situation. Ask your boss about the cab fare, then anyone about getting a ride. My company (in the US) often has interns without cars, and it's pretty common for people to give them rides to the train station (15 minute walk), or even to their lodging, if it's close to where the employee lives. The shorter the distance you need, the more likely they'll give you the taxi money or a ride.
Whose benefit is the presentation for? You say your contract is over, which strongly suggests they are no longer your employer, and this is not a case of employee travel to your usual workplace.
If you no longer work for them, and you're doing a presentation for their benefit, for example to help them assess their intern programme, then it seems pretty reasonable to request travel expenses, especially if you're doing it for no pay. They might say no, but I don't think too many places would consider it outrageous for an outside speaker to request travel expenses. Don't be too demanding, of course, since you want to remain on good terms with them, but what do they seriously expect, that you'll remain at their beck and call as long as they want?
Since you're injured, your travel expenses are higher than they otherwise would be. Of course you'll inform them of this, so it's their call whether they think it's worth it. Under the circumstances they could delay the presentation or cancel it entirely -- in fact they might agree that anyway to save you the trouble of travelling while you're hurt.
German law seems similar to UK law, in that an employer paying for travel to your usual place of work is taxable income. If that applies (that is to say, if you're still their employee for tax purposes despite your contract being over), then they could either pay your expenses plus necessary taxes (this is a standard calculation in tax accountancy), or if applicable they could give you their opinion that this presentation is not part of your regular commute to your usual workplace and therefore they can pay travel expenses untaxed. Whatever they think the situation is.
If the presentation is for your benefit (that is, it's part of your course requirement and the company is prepared to listen to it as a courtesy) then you're in a more difficult position. Perhaps your university will waive the requirement or give you an extension on the deadline, or you could declare yourself medically unable to complete the task and see what happens. But fundamentally if your university requires you to be at a certain place for part of your course, and you're physically able to get there, then chances are you'll have to pay even if it means a taxi.
What does your doctor say about your ability to work? Are you unable to work ("arbeitsunfähig" in German)? Can your doctor order you to stay at home to cure your injury? In Germany this is called "krankschreiben" (literally "writing sick"). If your doctor finds you unfit to work, stay at home until you are healthy again.
Regarding your presentation, ask to move it to a later date. You don't have to work if your health does not allow you to. In fact, your employer must support you in getting healthy again. He must not order you to work if working imapairs your health.