If an entry is still required in the workforce

Working papers when hiring and firing workers

The term working papers plays a role in the hiring and firing of workers.

Recruitment of workers

The working papers that the employer can request from the employee when concluding the employment contract include:

  • Electronic wage tax deduction features (ELStAM)
    Employees only have to inform the employer of their tax identification number and date of birth and whether it is a main or part-time employment. With this information, the employer can call up all data necessary for the wage tax deduction.
    The income tax card existed until 2013.
  • Social security card or letter from the pension fund with the assigned social security number
  • Job reference or diploma
  • Child benefit certificate (only for employees in the public service and civil servants)
    In Germany, child benefit is paid out through the family benefits offices of the employment agencies. For employees in the public service and civil servants, the payment is made through the employer or the employer (Section 72 (1) EStG).
  • Holiday certificate (certificate of the holiday granted and paid for in the current calendar year with the previous employer)
  • Documentation for capital formation payments
  • Notification of the health insurance company with which the employee is insured
  • Proof of parents, provided that no child allowances are entered on the income tax card.
  • Certificate of employment to be issued by the previous employer at the end of the employment relationship in accordance with Section 312 of SGB III
  • Initial instruction in accordance with Section 43 of the Infection Protection Act (Only in the case of an activity in the field of food preparation, food sales or catering)
    This initial instruction replaces the previously required health certificate. The instruction is carried out by the health department or an authorized doctor. It must not be older than three months before starting work in the areas mentioned for the first time. A certificate is issued that the instruction has been carried out and must be presented to the employer.
  • Work permit (Only for foreign employees from non-EU countries)
    EU citizens do not need a work permit or a residence permit.
  • Health certificate (initial examination or follow-up examination according to the Youth Labor Protection Act)
    Only for adolescents (people who are not yet 18 years old)
  • For severely disabled persons, the severely disabled certificate.

A company number is required when the first employee is hired (450 euro workers, employees subject to social insurance contributions, trainees).

After submission to the employer, the job reference / diploma, the social security card and the employment certificate must be given to the employee. The employer must keep the other work documents carefully.

Tasks related to hiring a new employee

Dismissal of workers

The working papers that the employer must hand over to the employee at the end of the employment relationship include:

  • Job reference (§ 109 Trade Regulations - Certificate)
  • Certificate of employment (§ 312 SGB III)
  • A printout of the electronic income tax certificate based on an officially prescribed sample. The printout must be handed over or made available electronically (Section 41b (1) sentence 3 EStG).
    The wage tax card was replaced in 2013 by the electronic wage tax deduction features (ELStAM).
  • Holiday certificate (certificate of the holiday already granted or paid for in the current calendar year)
  • Documents on the company pension scheme
  • Initial instruction in accordance with Section 43 of the Infection Protection Act
  • Health certificate (initial examination or follow-up examination according to the Youth Labor Protection Act)
  • Work permit

The employer has no right to withhold the working papers, even if he still has claims against the employee from the employment relationship. The employee can sue the labor courts for the surrender of the working papers. If the employer withholds the working papers, he is liable to pay compensation if the employee suffers damage from withholding the working papers.

Information on termination of employment (dismissal of employees).

Income tax card - Tax ID - Electronic income tax deduction features (ELStAM)

Until 2013, employees with residence or habitual abode in Germany had to present an income tax card to their employer before the start of the calendar year or when they started working. The employee's municipality of residence issued the income tax card.
The 2010 income tax card was the last of its kind. The municipalities no longer issued income tax cards for the 2011 calendar year. The validity of the 2010 income tax cards and the replacement certificates issued later was extended until the ELStAM was used for the first time.

The Federal Ministry of Finance, in agreement with the highest tax authorities of the federal states, set November 1, 2012 as the start date for the electronic wage tax deduction (ELStAM) procedure. From this point in time, employers had the option of calling up the ELStAM for employees with effect from January 1, 2013 and using it as a basis for the 2013 wage tax deduction.
The employers had to call up and use the ELStAM for the last wage payment period ending in the 2013 calendar year at the latest. A request with effect from 2014 was considered to be late.

From 2011 the tax office is responsible for all changes and entries.

Employees only have to provide the employer with their tax identification number and date of birth when they start work and declare whether it is a main or part-time employment. All data is stored at the Federal Central Tax Office and can be queried electronically by the employer.
The reported wage tax deduction features remain applicable for the duration of the employment relationship. Changes are made available to employers electronically for retrieval.

Until December 31, 2008 every citizen of the FRG received a letter in which he was informed of the tax identification number (IdNr) and the saved key data. The number consists of 11 digits and is not intended to allow any conclusions to be drawn about the taxpayer. The tax identification number is valid for life. It is intended for income tax and is limited to the area of ​​financial management. The aim is to simplify the tax system. The tax identification number is necessary for the electronic wage tax deduction features (electronic wage tax card).

Tax identification number information

All legal stipulations on the wage tax deduction features can be found in § 39 EStG - wage tax deduction features

The social security card or letter from the pension fund with the assigned social security number

An indispensable feature for the registration process is the pension insurance number (social insurance number). It is taken from the social security card (SV card).

Source: German pension insurance

With the 6th SGB IV Amendment Act, the social security card will be expanded to include machine-readable data encryption from 01.01.2017. Section 18h SGB IV is amended accordingly. The insurance number can then be incorporated into the employer's procedures faster and more securely. The encryption also serves as a machine-verifiable authenticity feature for the social security card.
The law was on the agenda of the 948th meeting of the Federal Council on September 23, 2016.

Every employee (including marginal part-time employees) receives an SV card, which is issued by the responsible pension insurance company. This basically happens when the insurance number is assigned. The first-time issue of an SV card takes place at the request of the employee. The application is not tied to any form. The health insurance company is responsible for accepting applications for an SV ID card.

The social security card must be presented to the employer when starting employment.

Some employees had to stick a photo in the ID and carry it with them while working. Since the ID is not forgery-proof, from 2009 there is an obligation to carry and present personal documents (instead of the social security card) when providing services in economic sectors in which there is an increased risk of undeclared work and illegal employment.

The legal stipulations for the social security card can be found in § 18h SGB IV. The design of the card is done by the German Federal Pension Insurance.

Foreign employees who work in Germany as part of the posting must prove that they belong to the foreign social security system by means of certificate A1 (certificate E 101 by April 30, 2010). See also the Employees page.

By the end of 2010, every employee received a social security card from their pension insurance company. Since January 2011, the social security card in its previous form has been discontinued. Instead, every employee receives a letter from his pension insurance agency, in which he is given his social security number. The content and function of the letter are identical to the previous social security card.


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