Working students

The information below is only for students who live in Germany and have health insurance in Germany, either through their partner or through their parents in Germany. Residents of the Netherlands who study in Germany and have a job as a working student do not have health insurance in Germany or the Netherlands.

Working student

As long as their studies take precedence over their job, students can be exempt from some social security contributions and thus save money.
Students who have a job alongside their studies are only considered so-called working students if their time and labour are mainly focused on their studies. The studies must therefore remain the main thing, the job the secondary thing. The 20-hour rule applies here.

Students (and employers) then pay no additional contributions to health, long-term care and unemployment insurance, regardless of the amount of income. Contributions to pension insurance must be made, however.

You should know that employment does not entitle you to unemployment benefits, and you are only entitled to continued payment of wages in the event of illness for a maximum of six weeks. After that, the legal sickness insurance does not pay sickness allowance.

Caution: All students must – regardless of their job – be insured in a statutory or private health insurance scheme. Before taking up any employment, the health insurance must be informed.
Employers register new student employees – within six weeks of the first day of work – with the health insurance with which the student is insured.

Important: Family insurance through the parents only exists up to a maximum monthly income of € 425 or € 450 for a mini-job. The health insurance will advise you on the individual case.

The following paragraphs form the legal basis:

  • Section 27, paragraph 4, sentence 1, number 3, Social Code – Third Book
  • Section 6, paragraph 1, number 3, Social Code – Fifth Book
  • Section 1 paragraph 2 sentence 1 Social Code – Eleventh Book
  • Section 10, paragraph 1, number 5, Social Code – Fifth Book
  • Section 20, paragraph 1, sentence 2, number 1, Social Code – Eleventh Book

20-hour rule

The working student rule only applies to students who do not work more than 20 hours a week during the study term.Only up to this time limit do studies take precedence over jobs, as the Federal Social Court ruled in its decision of 11 November 2003 – B 12 KR 24/03 R.

Several employments, for example with different employers and as a self-employed person, are added together.

Note: Higher education within the meaning of the “working student privilege” ends at the end of the month in which students are officially informed in writing of the overall result of the examination. After that, the criterion “regular student†is no longer fulfilled – even if enrolment continues. Students then become liable for social security contributions like normal employees.

Exceptions to the 20-hour rule

The 20-hour limit can be exceeded in individual cases if you

do not work more than more than 26 weeks (182 calendar days) in the course of an employment year (not: calendar year) for more than 20 hours per week or
during the lecture-free period (semester break) or
within an employment relationship contractually limited from the outset to a maximum of three months or 70 working days (= short-term employment) or
predominantly during evening and night hours or at weekends (only possible in individual cases on the basis of evidence!).
It is also a prerequisite in these case groups that the studies primarily shape their life situation and not the employment.

ATTENTION:The health insurance decides on the exceptions mentioned.


As a working student, you are an employee and therefore liable to pay taxes. Nevertheless, as a rule there should be no tax burden. As long as the salary (less, in particular, the employee lump-sum allowance, pension lump-sum allowance) remains below the basic tax-free amount (In 2017: € 8,820), the income tax paid will be refunded in the course of an income tax assessment in the following year.

Not working students

Like all employees, students who are subject to social security contributions are those who take up employment

  • during a semester off or
  • in addition to part-time studies or
  • alongside doctoral studies or
  • as participants in dual courses of study


The same applies to those who take up employment after graduating from a higher education institution and in addition complete a supplementary or second course of study which only serves the purpose of further vocational training or specialisation.