You are not always allowed to earn extra income without it affecting your main income. The conditions under which you are allowed to have a supplementary income depend on the type of your main income, on your place of residence and sometimes on other factors. Here we give you a general overview of what you should pay attention to when living in Germany. In any case, find out in advance what you should pay attention to in your specific case.
As an employee
If you are employed, it may be that your employment contract contains regulations on additional income. As soon as you start working in a job that is subject to social security contributions in addition to your main job, you must inform your employer about this second job. The second job should not affect your main employment. If you are in wage tax class 1, the second job will be taxed with wage tax class 6. This means that you will pay a lot of taxes at first but you can reclaim the overpaid taxes by filing a tax return. Secondary businesses under the small business regulation, honorary posts and selling things via classified ads are no problem if you are an employee.
Unemployment benefits (ALG1)
If you are currently receiving unemployment benefit 1, your additional income limit is an allowance of 165 euros per month. It is also important that you register your side job with the Federal Employment Agency before you start it. Up to the 165€ limit, the salary from your side job or voluntary work has no effect on your unemployment benefit. If the extra income is above this limit, the unemployment benefit will be reduced. However, not all additional earnings are relevant for unemployment benefit 1. Income such as rental income and interest are not counted towards unemployment benefit. The allowance for additional earnings can also be increased by income-related expenses. If you have travel expenses, for example, you can declare them and your tax-free amount will increase accordingly.
Social security (ALG2)
Additional income of any kind is counted towards your unemployment benefit 2 starting at an amount of 100€ – but the allowances can also increase as your income increases. It is best to speak with your advisor to have clarity. With ALG2 it is also important with whom you live, because the income of your partner or a family member can also be counted towards unemployment benefits. To cope with financial problems only with the help of the ALG2 rate is difficult to impossible. If it is foreseeable that your income situation will not change, we recommend that you sit down with a debt advisor and also discuss the possibility of private insolvency.
If you are on parental leave, you can work up to 30 hours per week. However, there are no allowances and any additional income is counted towards the parental benefit. This means that you cannot increase your income during parental leave. A side job while receiving parental allowance is usually not financially worthwhile.
If you receive BAföG, you are allowed to earn some extra money. There are limits here as well. In general, you should not earn more than 5400€ per year in addition to BAföG. Whether you earn this amount in a few weeks or spread over the whole year is irrelevant. You have to be careful with your health insurance though, because it is possible that you can no longer be insured in the family tariff if your income is too high. It is also important that your studies are always in the foreground and that you do not concentrate too much on working. The maximum funding period of BAföG is basically linked to your standard period of study.
Other types of income
Of course, there are many types of income. We have listed the most common ones above. But you can also be a recipient of a scholarship, have no income at all and live on occasional allowances from relatives, have income from renting and leasing or earn your income from dividends from shares. No matter what kind of income you have, please inform yourself about the social, tax and insurance consequences of taking up another job.