In order to gain a work permit in Germany, you need specialized skills and a well-paying job. However, there are some instances when a lower paying job is necessary for some individual. In those situations, Germany offers the EUR 400 Basis jobs, or mini-jobs. Keep in mind; the mini-jobs do not qualify you for a work permit in Germany.
Pay and Taxes
The point of the mini-job is to offer the employee a small but tax-free income. The mini-job is also helpful to the employer because they receive a break and pay less taxes and fees for those mini-job employees. Employees working mini-jobs are only allowed to receive a maximum of €400 per month. How that money is divided up is up to the discretion of the employer. You could work for ten hours at a rate of €40 per hour, or you could work 40 hours at a rate of €0 per hour, just so long as the monthly total does not ever exceed €400. On the other hand, the €400 is a maximum, so there is always the possibility that you could pay less. When you earn €400 per month or less, you will have no taxes to pay because of your low income. The employer still has to pay taxes, but the percentages have been reduced.
Regulations and Warnings
The employer and employee must agree upon the EUR 400 Basis and declare it as such. If your income exceeds €400 per month, then both you and your employer will have to pay additional taxes and health insurance. If you decide to work multiple jobs and each job does not exceed €400 per month but your total monthly income does exceed that amount, then each of your employers will not be required to pay any additional taxes; however, you will have to pay additional income taxes and pay for your own health insurance, which can be quite costly.
There are some schemes that you should look out for when looking into mini-jobs. If your employer hires you on the EUR 400 Basis, and also requires additional freelance work from you, they are cheating the system by not paying the additional taxes for employing and paying someone more than €400 per month, and they are cheating you out of a stable paycheck while sticking you with all of your health insurance costs and the tax hike that comes with earning more than €400 per month.
If your employer agrees to the EUR 400 Basis for your employment and then give you any additional pay over the €400 per month in cash, then both you and your employer are avoiding the taxes and health insurance costs for those who earn more than €400 per month. This is illegal.
While living in Germany, a monthly salary of €400 per month is not enough to live off of comfortably. On top of that, you cannot earn a work permit off of a mini-job and low salary. However, certain situations are perfect for the EUR 400 Basis jobs, such as mothers looking for part-time work to supplement their partner’s income, or students looking to make a little bit of extra cash. Mini-jobs are not ideal for an expatriate looking to live and succeed in Germany, but mini-jobs can be useful for some.