SHARE
COPY LINK

WORKING IN GERMANY

Germany plans tax rebate up to €600 for employees working from home

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government on Monday said it was planning a tax rebate for people working from home during the pandemic, to help offset higher costs for heating, electricity and other bills.

Germany plans tax rebate up to €600 for employees working from home
A woman working from home in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Merkel's left-right coalition said it had agreed a proposal that would allow employees working from home to reduce their annual tax bill by per €5 working day, up to a maximum amount of €600 per year.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the proposed legislation, expected to be approved by parliament in December, is “good for workers” and “not a big fiscal challenge for the German state”.

Tax law in Germany means that working from home normally only qualifies for rebates if one room in the house is used exclusively as an office.

READ ALSO: How Germany plans to give Home Office workers more rights and benefits

But with millions of office employees working from their living rooms and kitchen tables to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, calls have grown for the rules to be relaxed.

Calculations by the Ifo institute show that around 56 percent of German employees could potentially work from home temporarily.

Existing law “no longer correlates to today's working world,” said Sebastian Brehm, an MP and tax advisor for Merkel's CSU Bavarian sister party.

The planned tax deduction was the “flexible answer” to this, he told AFP.

What remained unresolved however was whether the home-office tax proposal would be included in the 1,000 euro tax deduction every German employee already gets annually for job-related expenses like transport and work outfits, or whether it would come on top of it.

This year's massive shift to working from home to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission is likely to lead to changes in the workplace that will outlast the pandemic.

Labour Minister Hubertus Heil has already said he wants employees to have the right to request to work from home occasionally in future, though he backed down from an initial proposal of guaranteeing workers at least 24 days of home office a year.

Last week, Germany's largest lender Deutsche Bank said it was mulling allowing employees to work away from the office permanently for two days a week, according to Bloomberg News.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

WORKING IN GERMANY

How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

Lots of foreigners in Germany hope to get a job or climb the career ladder. But are there still opportunities for English speakers who don't have fluent German? We spoke to a careers expert to find out.

How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

The pandemic turned our lives upside down. As well as having to isolate and be apart from family members, many people found themselves in need of a new job or decided they want a change in career. 

If you’re in Germany or thinking of moving here, job searching is of course easier with German language skills. But many people haven’t had the chance to learn German – or their German isn’t fluent enough to work in a German-only environment.

So how easy is it to find a job in Germany as an English speaker?

We asked Düsseldorf-based career coach Chris Pyak, managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH, who said he’s seen an increase in job offers. 

“The surprising thing about this pandemic is that demand for skilled labour actually got even stronger,” Pyak told The Local.

“Instead of companies being careful, they’ve hired even more than they did before. And the one thing that happened during the pandemic that didn’t happen in the last 10 years I’ve observed the job market was that the number of English offers quadrupled.”

READ ALSO: How to boost your career chances in Germany

Pyak said usually about one percent of German companies hire new starts in English. “Now it’s about four percent,” said Pyak. 

“This happened in the second half of 2021. This is a really positive development that companies are more willing than they used to be. That said it’s still only four percent.”

Pyak said he’s seen a spike in demand for data scientists and analysts as well as project managers. 

So there are some jobs available, but can foreigners do anything else?

Pyak advises non-Germans to sell themselves in a different way than they may be used to. 

A woman works on her CV in Germany.

A woman works on her CV in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

“In your home country you have a network, you have a company you used to work for that people know,” said Pyak. “This might be partly the case in Germany if you worked for an international company. But for most employers you are a blank sheet of paper, they know nothing about you. So unfortunately if they don’t know you or your country, they will assume you are worse (at the job) than Germans. It’s completely unjustified but it’s just how people are. 

“Get the employer to see you as the individual person you are, the professional you are. This requires that you have a conversation with somebody inside the company, ideally the decision maker, meaning the hiring manager or someone in this team.”

Pyak said it’s important to go into details. 

“Don’t think of me as a foreigner, think of me as ‘Mark who has been working in IT for 15 years’,” said Pyak. “Don’t read the job advert (to the manager), ask them what his or her biggest worry is and why is that important? And then dig deeper and offer solutions based on your work experience. Share actual examples where you proved that you can solve this problem.”

READ ALSO: 7 factors that can affect how much you’re getting paid

Pyak says foreigners in Germany can convince managers that they are right for the job – even if their German isn’t great. 

“What I advise clients at the beginning of the interview is to ask very politely if you can ask them (managers) a question. And this question should be: how will you know that I’m successful in this job, what is the most important problem I need to solve for you in order to make myself valuable? And then ask why this problem is so important. And the answer to that achieves a million things for you – first of all you’ve established a measurement by which you should be measured. 

“Then when you get into detailed discussion you can always tie your answer back to the question you can solve, which usually makes up 70 or 80 percent of the job. If you can solve this problem then what does it matter if you do the job in German or English?”

So in answer to our original question – it seems that getting an English-speaking job in Germany can’t be described as easy but it is very possible especially if you have the skills in your chosen field. Plus there are ways to increase your chances. Good luck! 

SHOW COMMENTS