In Germany, salaries vary between professions and regions. But the most striking thing for newcomers is that Brutto (gross) is not equal to Netto (net)! The Brutto amount is always mentioned in job advertisements, salary negotiations and employment contracts. But you only get paid the Netto amount. Your employer automatically deducts taxes and social insurance from your Brutto salary before paying you the Netto salary.
The taxes are: income tax, church tax and solidarity surcharge. The income tax depends on your income tax class and is currently between 14 and 45 percent of your total income in one year. In Germany, income tax is linear-progressive, which means that the higher the income, the higher the percentage tax rate. In the process, positive factoring is taken into account, e.g. whether you are married or have children. If you are a member of the Catholic or Protestant churches, 8-9% of your income tax will be deducted from your gross salary as church tax. If you are not Christian or not a member of the church, the church tax will not be deducted. The last tax is the solidarity surcharge which was introduced to finance the costs of German reunification and amounts to 5.5% of the income tax.
In addition to taxes, the social insurance are also deducted from gross directly by employer. The social insurance include health insurance, long-term care insurance, pension insurance and unemployment insurance. These insurances are obligatory for every employee in Germany. The advantage of this obligatory insurance is the fact that you are financially secure in case of unemployment or illness, in case of nursing care and in retirement. In addition to the public health insurance, you can also insure yourself privately. Further information can be found on our portal.
Example: The Employee is 35 years old and lives in Hessen is unmarried, childless, no church member and in the tax class 1.Gross salary of 4,000 euros per month / 48,000 euros per year.
|Gross salary||4.000 €||48.000 €|
|Income tax||689,16 €||8.269,92 €|
|Solidarity surcharge||37,90 €||454,80 €|
|Church tax||0,00 €||0,00 €|
|Total taxes||727,06 €||8.724,72 €|
|Health insurance||310 €||3.720 €|
|long-term care insurance||71 €||852 €|
|Pension insurance||372 €||4.464 €|
|Unemployment insurance||50 €||600 €|
|Total social insurance||803 €||9.636 €|
|Net salary||2.469,94 €||29.639,28 €|
In this example, with a monthly gross salary of €4,000, you would be paid €2,469.94 net. You can find various gross-net calculators online which allow you to easily calculate your own net salary. If you have paid too much tax, you can get it back at the end of the year by submitting a tax return to the tax office. This only applies to taxes and not to social insurance.
The amount of salary
How high your salary is depends on many factors. How well qualified you are, how much experience you have, in which region you live and unfortunately sometimes which gender you have. In some professions there is still unequal pay for men and women. On the website of the Federal Employment Agency you will find a salary atlas showing the expected salaries and regional differences for many professions. But the level of income is not everything. The cost of living, for rent or food varies from region to region and plays also a major role.