Student work: 6 important legal aspects

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Working as a student trainee is the ideal part-time job for many aspiring academics: study content can be combined with initial practical experience, which often makes starting a career easier – and you also earn money. What legal regulations there are for student labor contract and Co., you will find out here.

Already well secured as a professional beginner: We are at your side in disputes in the job. >>

Working as a working student: The basic requirements

In order to be employed as a student trainee, these requirements must be met:

  • You are a full-time full-time student enrolled at a university or college – not as part of a doctorate.
  • The study is your main activity.
  • You are not in a vacation semester.
  • You have not yet passed the 25th semester.
  • You have not taken your final exam yet.
  • In addition, a working student during the school year may not comprise more than 20 hours per week.

The following regulations are also to be considered:

1. Student's contract

  • As a student trainee, you are largely treated like a part-time employee by employment law. Your employer closes with you thus a student contract, which is quite similar to a normal employment contract.
  • Among other things, it contains information on remuneration, leave and regulations for illness – because, like a "real" permanent employee, you, as a working student, have the right to receive sick pay if you are ill.
  • In addition, the student work contract usually has a passage that links the employment relationship to the condition that you are enrolled as a student.
  • Also, the limitation of the weekly working time to 20 hours can be listed with reference to the student work status.
  • Attention: A student contract is not the same as a contract for work. In the latter you work freelance and are not employed in the company.

2. Working hours and holidays

There may be exceptions to the 20-hourly hours regulation

  • if your activity is limited to a maximum of three months ,
  • if you work only on the weekend, in the evening or at night
  • and in the lecture-free time.

Otherwise, you are strictly bound by the 20-hour rule. This is also important for social security – more on that below.

How these hours are distributed over the individual days of the week can be regulated individually with your employer. Good to know: Your holiday entitlement as a working student depends on how many days a week you work – as with other employees.

  • If it is 5 working days a week, you are entitled to at least 20 holidays a year.
  • 4 working days per week results in 16 holidays per year
  • and for 3 working days per week, 12 holidays per year.

3. Salary

As a working student you fall under the minimum wage scheme. Your work must therefore be remunerated at least with 9,19 euros per hour (as of 2019, from 1 January 2020: 9.35 euros per hour). In some industries, however, higher salaries are more common for working students.

The classic working student job usually goes beyond the time scope of a mini-job – and accordingly, the monthly salary is often higher than 450 €. As a result, there are some peculiarities regarding social security and taxes.

4. Social Security

As a working student, you are partially exempt from social security. In the unemployment insurance you do not have to deposit – in the pension insurance, however, already.

With the pension insurance there is no exception for students, that is: who is working, must pay pension contributions, even as a working student. The only exception: If you do not earn more than 450 euros per month, you can be exempted from the pension insurance as a marginal employee on application to the employer.

Here, it should be weighed: Although the liberation ensures that a little more of the reward lands on your account. At the same time, however, you waive contribution periods in the statutory pension insurance, which increase your future pension entitlement.

And what about the health and long-term care insurance ? You are not insured by the employer. You have to pay as a student student only in the health and care insurance, if you

  • … are 25 years or older
  • … and / or regularly earns more than € 445 a month (as of May 2019).

In both cases, the family insurance no longer applies to your parents and you as a student automatically in the student compulsory insurance.

Even with the 20-hour rule , the health insurance company usually looks exactly: If you exceed this weekly number of hours, you should – and also in the semester break – for safety's sake, clarify with your health insurance and have approved to the status as a working student not to lose.

5. Wage tax

If you pursue a working student, you will be upgraded to a income tax bracket. If you are unmarried and have no children, this is, for example, the tax code I. Here applies: payroll tax you have to pay only if you earn more than 950 euros per month.

Due to the current working time restriction, many working students do not even reach this amount. If you are liable to pay income tax, it may be worthwhile to file a voluntary tax return later – so you can get back some of the tax paid.

6. Child benefit and student loan

If you refer to Bafög , you may also have as a working student only income up to a certain limit (as of May 2019: 5,400 euros gross per year or 450 euros a month). If you earn more, there are deductions at Bafög.

You will receive child support for you as long as you are under 25 and you are in your first education – regardless of what you earn as a working student. Again, of course, again the 20-hour control is observed.

Please read the content of our legal information.

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