Working, doing an internship or becoming self-employed during your studies - there are a number of things to consider with regard to social insurance, taxes, labour law and residence law. We have compiled important information for you.
Your study status (full-time, part-time, leave of absence), the amount of your income from dependent employment and self-employment, the number of hours worked per week during or outside of lecture periods and the duration of your employment play a role in determining the extent to which contributions must be paid to various branches of social security. There is also income tax, which may be deducted from your salary. As an employee, you have certain rights and obligations.
Extensive information on working while studying can be found on the pages of the website of Deutsches Studentenwerk and the DGB-Youth.
Your rights and obligations as an employee are described in the BMAS brochure on labour law.
As an international student with a residence permit according to § 16b of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz), you must also observe certain rules and limits regarding residence law, which are described in the brochure of the Hamburg Ministry of the Interior and Sports. For example, you may only work up to 120 days or 240 half days per calendar year. In addition, you can do on-campus jobs at universities. The work you do as part of the ConAction project also counts as on-campus job at universities, which does not count towards your permitted working days. During the lecture period, you should not work more than 20 hours per week (hours of all activities are added together) in order not to lose your residence permit according to § 16b of the Residence Act. For self-employment, you must first apply for a permit at your foreigners authority.
You can get advice on this at the Counselling Centre for Social Affairs & International Affairs - BeSI.
You can find our lecture "Working while studying - What do I need to know?" as part of the PIASTA Welcome Week at the University of Hamburg on 05.10.2022 here.
What applies to compulsory internships, voluntary internships, pre- or post-internships?
What social security regulations must be observed?
When does the minimum wage apply?
These and other questions are answered on the website of the German Student Union and the DGB Youth.
In the case of self-employment (e.g. fee-based work, freelance work), there is no entitlement to continued payment of wages in the event of illness, nor to paid leave, and there is no accident insurance at work or on the way to work. You also have to take care of your own social security and taxes.
Students who are covered by compulsory student health insurance are only permitted to be self-employed on a part-time basis within the scope of this insurance. The individual branches of the social security system determine whether a student is self-employed on a part-time or full-time basis based on the amount of time and the amount of income. If you are self-employed on a full-time basis, you will have to pay higher health and long-term care insurance contributions than if you are a student with compulsory health insurance; see our information sheet on health insurance. If your income is more than marginal (currently over 520 € per month), you have to check with the statutory pension insurance whether you have to pay pension insurance contributions.
If you are self-employed, you must apply for a tax number from the relevant tax office. A trade, on the other hand, only has to be registered for certain self-employed activities.
You can find more information on status, social security, tax issues and other questions about self-employment on the DGB Youth website, in the Mediafon guide and on the BMWK start-up portal.