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Side job: These are the legal aspects you should be aware of

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Side job: These are the legal aspects you should be aware of

According to the German Federal Employment Agency, around 3.5 million employees in Germany will already be working part-time in 2020. In view of the rising cost of living, many people are considering ways to supplement their income in the future. The idea of taking on a side job is therefore an obvious one.

However, not all side jobs are the same. In the following article, we would like to inform you about the different types of side jobs and which legal aspects you should pay attention to.

What is a side job?

As the name suggests, a side job is a (gainful) activity that is performed in addition to the main job. The part-time job alone does not secure the basic income, but only supplements it. The income you earn from your part-time job is therefore referred to as additional income.

As far as your rights and obligations as an employee are concerned, they are identical to those of your full-time employment. This means that you receive a regular employment contract. Depending on the duration of the employment and the additional income earned, the part-time job may or may not be subject to tax and social security contributions.

You can start a part-time job with your main employer as well as with another employer. In the latter case, the consent of your main employer may be required. Self-employed part-time work is also possible. If you engage in voluntary work, this is also referred to as part-time work.

part time job from home

What is the difference between ...

Basically, all activities that you perform in addition to your main job fall into the category of sideline activities. In the following, we will take a closer look at the different possible variants.

... a part-time job?

A part-time job is the generic term for all activities that you perform in addition to your main job. Almost any activity is suitable as a side job. However, a particularly large number of part-time workers can be found in the catering industry and in retail. Delivering newspapers, babysitting and giving private lessons are also popular part-time jobs.

The forms of a part-time job can be of a diverse nature. For example, a distinction is made between mini-jobs, seasonal work, voluntary work and part-time self-employment.

... a mini-job?

The mini-job falls under the category of side jobs, yet not every side job is automatically a mini-job! In linguistic usage, the two terms are often mistakenly used synonymously.

The earnings limit has been 520 euros per month since October 1, 2022. However, the duration of the employment relationship can be unlimited. Provided that you remain within the monthly earnings limit, the minijob is tax and social security free. The annual salary may not exceed a sum of 6240 euros.

Another criterion is the maximum weekly working time, which may not exceed 15 hours on average. Mini-jobs are very popular among students, which is why they are also called student jobs.

... a part-time job?

A part-time job is one in which the hours worked are less than the regular working hours of a full-time position. The company's internal working hours are used as a benchmark here. It is therefore hardly possible to make a general statement as to how many hours per week a part-time position comprises.

A widespread misconception is that a part-time job generally involves working half of the weekly hours scheduled by the company. For example, if 40 hours is considered full-time, an employee who is present for only 35 hours is by definition already working part-time.

It is possible to hold a part-time position as a secondary occupation in addition to a full-time position, provided that this does not conflict with the full-time occupation. However, the Occupational Health and Safety Act must also be observed in this context. For example, the average working hours per working day may not exceed 8 hours per day over a period of 6 months.

... a marginal employment?

Marginal employment is the correct synonym for the mini-job. As already explained, a weekly working time of 15 hours, a maximum monthly income of 520 euros and annual earnings of 6240 euros may not be exceeded.

part time job home office

Can I do a part-time job online / from home?

Yes, that is possible. It doesn't matter from where you work your part-time job. The only decisive factor is the amount of additional income. If you exceed the limit of 520 euros per month, the job is subject to social insurance contributions. In any case, you must register with the tax office. Afterwards, you will be sent a questionnaire so that a correct registration can be made.

There are numerous side jobs for at home. Below are some inspirations:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Customer service
  • Participation in surveys and product tests
  • Create and / or sell online courses
  • Editing / Proofreading
  • Writing order texts
  • Tutoring
  • Data acquisition and maintenance
  • Accounting
  • Online sale of homemade products

How much am I allowed to earn in a part-time job?

Unless it is a mini-job, there are no earnings limits for a part-time job. You can therefore earn an unlimited amount of extra money. However, if your monthly income exceeds the mini-job limit of 520 euros, social security contributions will be due. If you work in several mini-jobs at the same time, the earnings limit applies to each employment relationship.

Who is allowed to have a part-time job?

In principle, anyone who has reached the minimum age of 13 may have a part-time job. This also applies to job seekers and pensioners! You can work in the private as well as in the commercial sector.

Special features for students

According to the Youth Protection Act, young people over the age of 13 are allowed to have a part-time job. They can choose between a permanent mini-job or short-term employment, e.g. during the vacation period. However, there are restrictions on the daily working hours.

13- to 14-year-olds are not allowed to work more than two hours a day and only between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. This regulation applies in principle to all young people who are still in full-time school. Exception: During school vacations, students aged 15 and older may work 40 hours a week between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for up to four weeks a year.

15- to 17-year-olds may work a maximum of 40 hours per week on five weekdays, provided they are no longer required to attend school full-time. Recovery periods of at least eleven hours must be observed between workdays. Two consecutive days off must be granted each week.

Special features for the unemployed

Many unemployed people take on a part-time job to supplement their income a little. However, it is mandatory to register the sideline job with the Federal Employment Agency. Otherwise, there is a risk of serious sanctions. The monthly income limit is 165 euros. If this amount is exceeded, the additional income is counted towards unemployment benefits.

Special features for pensioners

The number of pensioners in gainful employment has been rising steadily since 2018. According to the latest figures from the German Federal Ministry of Labor, around 1.5 million pensioners in Germany currently have a part-time job. Sometimes due to financial bottlenecks, but often also in order to continue to actively participate in social life.

The interesting question at this point is, of course: Will the additional earnings be offset against the pension? As soon as the standard old-age pension takes effect, unlimited additional earnings are possible without being offset. However, the situation is somewhat different for early retirees. Since July 2017, the deduction-free additional earnings limit has been 6300 euros gross per calendar year.

I would like to take a part-time job: Why do I need to ask permission from my primary employer?

If you already have a main job, you will most likely have to obtain the consent of your main employer. Before you start your part-time job, check whether your employment contract contains a clause to this effect.

This is to ensure that your part-time job does not interfere with your main job. For example, your main employer may prohibit the side job if it is a competitor's job or if the working hours regularly collide.

Are side jobs subject to compulsory insurance?

With the exception of mini-jobs, side jobs are generally subject to social security contributions. As already mentioned, the assessment limit has been € 520 per month since October 2022. As with the main job, social security contributions are paid by the employer.

Are side jobs taxable?

Like any full-time employment relationship, part-time jobs are subject to wage and income tax. The amount of tax payable depends on the employee's tax class. For example, if you had a main job and a side job in combination, you would be in tax class VI.

A mini-job is subject to a flat-rate tax of 2 %, which must be paid by the employer. Theoretically, a corresponding expense allowance could be claimed from the employee, but this is considered an outdated practice. Activities where the annual earnings are less than EUR 2400 are completely tax-free.

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Where can I find part-time jobs?

The first place to go to find a part-time job is still the Internet. On various job portals you can find numerous job ads, which you can filter according to your wishes. In this way, you can quickly compile a list of suitable jobs in your area.

Perhaps somewhat out of fashion, but still by no means irrelevant, is the Study newspaper advertisements. Many companies place job advertisements in the local newspaper. It's also worth keeping your eyes open when strolling through town. Many stores post signs or put out flyers when they are looking for a temp. In the supermarket, it makes sense to take a look at the bulletin board.

Another option is to simply take a look at the Family and friends ask around. Surely there is someone in your environment who already has a part-time job. Is it possible that this company is looking for more temporary employees?

If you already have a specific activity or company in mind for your part-time job, there is nothing to be said against a speculative application. It is best to submit your documents in person.

Which part-time job is suitable for me?

A part-time job is the best way to supplement the household budget a little. Even if you're saving for a special purchase, a part-time job can pay off in the truest sense of the word. However, you should keep in mind that an additional job in addition to your main job can be quite demanding. There are a few things to keep in mind so that you don't exceed your limits:

  • Decide on a part-time job that you enjoy (arrange a trial day).
  • Choose a field of activity for which you are qualified.
  • Make sure you are compensated appropriately.
  • Make sure your work hours don't conflict with your main job as well as your family obligations.
  • The journey should be as short as possible to avoid further time expenditure.

But maybe you are also interested in a part-time job to build up your self-employment around it. From us you get as a start-up help with the free workbook "Ten business coaching tips for your career". ten practical tips that you can apply immediately in your everyday work. With simple coaching methods and tools that business coaches also use, you can shine tomorrow with your new leadership and management skills in front of colleagues and superiors.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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