Youth Employment

Understand the laws affecting teenagers working in Germany...

The Youth Employment Protection Act (Jugendarbeitsschutzgesetz) and the Child Labour Protection Ordinance (Kinderarbeitsschutzverordnung) protect young people under the age of 18 from work which is too difficult, dangerous or unsuitable for them and also limits youth working hours.

  • For the full text of the Jugendarbeitsschutzgesetz: Click here (PDF in German)
  • For the full text of the Kinderarbeitsschutzverordnung: Click here (PDF in German)
  • For information in English on laws relating to young people: Click here

Up to the age of 13, young people are not allowed to do any paid part-time work outside the household.

At age 13 young people are allowed to have a part-time job under the following conditions:

  • Parents must agree
  • The work must not be damaging to their health or school performance
  • Young people are not allowed to work for more than two hours a day. This also applies in the school holidays
  • They must not work after 18:00. This also applies in the school holidays
  • The work must be morally sound and young people must not come into contact with alcohol or tobacco

Possible jobs for 13 year olds include: babysitting, delivering newspapers, private tuition, helping out with sport, and looking after animals.

Between the age of 15 and 18 young people are allowed to work under a number of conditions, depending on whether they are still in compulsory education.

If the young person is still in compulsory education (that is, up to and including Year 10):

  • The same restrictions apply as for 13 and 14 year olds
  • The exception is that young people aged 15 to 18 are allowed to work for four weeks in the school holidays

If the young person is no longer in compulsory schooling (that is, they are in Year 11 or above):

  • Young people may work up to 8 hours a day or 40 hours per week
  • They are allowed to work between 06:00 and 20:00, except for jobs in the restaurant industry where they are allowed to work until 22:00 and in companies where there is shift work until 23:00
  • The only work they are allowed to do on Saturdays is in shops and in sport organisations
  • The only work they are allowed to do on Sundays is in hospitals and in the food and drink industry
  • No work is allowed in areas that could be harmful to health or which are morally unsuitable

There are also exceptions for children performing in theatrical and musical shows, film, television and radio productions as well as auditioning for them. The person employing the child is required to apply to the respective authorities who regulate the hours the child is permitted to work.

Foreign teenagers (not German nationals) should go to the Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) to find out if a work permit (ein Arbeitserlaubnis) is required. A work permit is not required for young people:

  • from countries that belong to the EU
  • who have a permanent residence permit

There are other exceptions but these need to be checked with the Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit).

  • Schuelerjobs (in German) is a free site listing jobs for young people still at school and/or students according to region
  • The Employment Agency's Berfufnet provides information about qualifications, training and any other important information needed for specific careers (in German)
  • Career Information Centres (BerufsInformationsZentren) in Germany according to region