What you need to know about employing domestic help privately in Germany
Employing cleaning staff, carers, gardeners or child carers privately is common in Germany and even incentivised via tax discounts. In total, approximately 4 million households employ domestic help. Cleaners are most commonly hired, but private childcare and elderly care are also increasingly hired privately, due to lack of spaces in respective institutions. quitt, the German expert for private employment, explains what you have to consider if you’re hiring help.
Finding domestic help in Germany
Finding a domestic helper in Germany is not always easy. There are different options for different situations. If you want to engage someone on a regular basis, it’s probably worth hiring an individual privately, whereas for one-time assignments, booking through an agency might be a more suitable alternative.
Agencies are useful if you want a short-notice or one-time service, for instance a deep-clean after a party, or a once-per-year window clean. However, using an agency works out more expensive for the hirer (that’s you), and the employee usually earns less than they would in private employment, as the agency is taking a cut on both sides. On top of this, if you go through an agency, you generally aren’t able to choose who takes the assignment and enters your home.
If you are looking for regular support, engaging someone on a fixed private employment basis is usually the better option. Here a relationship of trust and togetherness can be created with a person you choose yourself. The salary can be negotiated individually too.
Many household helpers can be found by simply asking friends or neighbours for recommendations. Alternatively, online job placement platforms are a good place to post your ad. Certainly, the largest platform for help of any kind in Germany is ebay Kleinanzeigen. Putzperle also offers a large selection of job advertisements in relation to cleaning help.
Employing domestic help or childcare
Once you have found a trustworthy domestic helper, you need to register them. In Germany there are three different types of employment for this:
- A mini-job
- A midi-job
- A full-time or part-time job
A mini-job is defined in Germany as any job that has a monthly salary of fewer than 520 euros. It can be attractive to employees as it incurs no taxes, so the gross salary is equal to the net salary. Employers also pay very low social security contributions of about 15 percent, to cover health insurance, accident insurance and employer's insurance. In their annual tax declarations, employers can deduct 20 percent or up to 510 euros of their costs.
Midi-jobs, with a gross monthly salary of between 521 and 2.000 euros, are also beneficial for employees. Midi-jobs operate on a sliding scale in the so-called transitional area, so that the more the employee earns, the more their social security contributions increase. At the same time, the employer’s costs decrease as the employee’s salary increases. Thus, the contributions for employees are between approximately 11 and 21 percent, and those of the employer between 20 and 28 percent.
Full-time and part-time jobs
Full- and part-time jobs are defined as employment relationships in which employees earn more than 2.000 euros per month. Under these employment relationships, employer and employee both pay social security contributions of approximately 20 percent.
In Germany, both midi-jobs and full-time and part-time jobs must be registered with the accident insurance, health insurance and tax authorities. In addition, the private household needs to provide a company number (Betriebsnummer - a number that identifies you as an employer).
Both types of jobs allow employees to accrue full pension benefits and both employee and employer are comprehensively insured. Employers also receive tax incentives, and are able to deduct 20 percent of their employer costs (up to 4.000 euros per year) in their annual tax return.
As this makes clear, the process of employing someone privately in Germany can be relatively complicated - and is made even more so by the fact that all communication with the authorities will need to be in German. It’s worth consulting with an expert to make sure you are fully compliant with the law.
Paying a fair salary
One of the things that makes private employment particularly fair and ensures long-term employment is that the salary can be freely negotiated with the domestic helper.
In Germany, the hourly salary is very much dependent on the place of residence. On average, private cleaners, caregivers or gardeners receive between 14 and 15 euros an hour, but this can range from 12 to 20 euros per hour depending on location. The official minimum wage of 12 euros gross per hour applies as the lowest cap in Germany and is valid also in private households.
Since the process of employing someone privately is complex and usually has to be done in German, you might want to consult with a tax advisor or a digital service like quitt. quitt is a 100% digital service that takes care of the registration, accounting and administration side of private employment and provides you with any important documents you might need, such as a sample contract or an annual cost overview for your tax return. Register your domestic help with quitt and get 20 euros off with the code iamexpat. Simple, fair, digital.