Unemployment Benefit (Arbeitslosengeld I /II)

Information about the types of unemployment benefits available in Germany...

This covers all employed people, including home workers, apprentices and trainees. It excludes self-employed workers and people involved in so-called "mini-jobs" (working less than 15 hours per week)

There is a minimum qualification period of 365 days of employment over the last two years. The amount and duration of the benefit will depend on the previous income and the duration of the previous employment.

Benefit claimants must also be registered at the local employment office and be capable of and available for work and be able to prove they are actively looking for employment. Claimants must not be absent from their usual place of residence for longer than three weeks in each year. These holidays must be agreed in advance with the unemployment office agent.

Full employment benefit (Arbeitslosengeld I)

If the claimant has no children, they will receive 60 percent of their previous net earnings. If caring for children under 18, this rises to 67 percent. The duration of benefits depends on the length of the period during which contributions have been paid and on age, with a maximum duration of 24 months. It ranges from six months for people who have been subject to compulsory insurance for 12 months up to a maximum of 24 months for older people who have been subject to compulsory insurance for 36 months.

Subsistence allowance (Arbeitslosengeld II)

This allowance is lower than ordinary unemployment benefit and is payable when the claimant cannot receive full benefit or their period of benefit has come to an end, but they are still fit to work and registered as a job-seeker. Whether or not a person can claim for Arbeitslosengeld II will depend on savings, husbands or wife's earnings and life insurance. A set amount is paid for those requiring social assistance (about €350 per month). Claimants must attend training courses, and be ready to step into any job offered them by the Arbeitsamt, even a very low paid one.

Persons receiving other benefits such as invalidity benefits or benefits from abroad will have the cash sickness benefit either withdrawn or reduced.

Sickness benefits (Krankengeld)

The employer is responsible for paying the worker's full salary for up to six weeks, thereafter the Krankenkasse pays 70 percent of gross earnings (up to a maximum of 90 percent of net earnings). Benefits are paid for up to 78 weeks in a three-year period for the same illness.

If covered by statutory sickness insurance, parents of children up to 12 years old are allowed sickness benefit for up to 10 working days per child, but no more than 25 days per insured person in each calendar year, regardless of how many children are ill. In single-parent households, this entitlement doubles to 20 and 50 days, respectively.