Why do farmers work so long

Work in agriculture

Remuneration in agriculture

Since January 2021, a statutory minimum wage of 9.50 euros gross per hour has been in effect for employees in agriculture in Germany.

The statutory minimum wage increases:

  • from July 1, 2021 to 9.60 euros gross per hour
  • from January 1, 2022 to 9.82 euros gross per hour
  • from July 1, 2022 to 10.45 euros gross per hour

This wage applies to all people who work in Germany, regardless of which country they come from. Even if your employer has posted you to Germany, he must pay you the minimum wage.

Piecework and piece wages

Piece and piece wages are permitted. However, they cannot be less than the applicable minimum wage that you would get for each hour worked.

employment contract

Ask your employer for a written employment contract. If the employer does not give you an employment contract, he must nevertheless write down the most important working conditions for you at the latest one month after starting work and hand them over to you.

Important: Don't sign anything you don't understand.

If you work in agriculture and want to become a member of a trade union in Germany, register with the Agricultural-Building-Environment Union (IG BAU). The union supports you in labor law disputes.

You can find more information about membership here:

+49 391 4085-105 for English / German
+49 391 4085-106 for Bulgarian
+49 391 4085-107 for Romanian
+49 391 4085-108 for Polish
+49 391 4085-114 for Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian
+49 391 4085-921 for Russian
+49 391 4085-922 for Hungarian

You can also write an email to: [email protected] (all languages)

An employment contract must contain:

  • Name and address of you and your employer
  • Beginning and agreed duration of the employment relationship
  • workplace
  • Description of the activities
  • Amount of wages and supplements (if any) as well as their due date
  • Agreed working hours
  • Length of vacation
  • Deadlines for terminating the employment relationship
  • Reference to applicable collective agreements

Documentation of working hours

Make a note of the start, end, and duration of work hours, including breaks, each day. Record names of witnesses. If possible, have a foreman or at least a colleague confirm your schedule of hours with a signature.

For piece wages: Write down the boxes or quantities given.

When is the wage to be paid?

You need to get a pay slip. The wages must be paid no later than the end of the month following the month in which the work was performed. All hours actually worked must then be paid out. If you have agreed with the employer that the entire wage will only be paid at the end of the seasonal work, then request weekly or monthly interim statements.


If you work six days, the regular weekly working time in agriculture can be 48 hours. A rest period of 11 hours is required between two shifts.

All working hours - including overtime - must be paid. The time it takes to get from one field to another is considered working time and must be paid for.

In the event of a dispute

If the employer does not pay overtime, you must prove that the employer ordered, approved or tolerated the overtime.

Also for this reason: Document your hours in writing and have a witness sign it.

Accommodation and catering

The current health and safety regulations stipulate that a maximum of 8 people should be accommodated in a shared room. At least 6 m² should be available per person.

Take photos of your accommodation if it does not meet the agreements!

If you do not get food and accommodation from your employer, but from a third party you should be presented with a rental or service contract for signature. If you do not get any contracts, ask your employer at the beginning of the season how much money you will be charged for room and board in the end.

If your boss Provides you with food and accommodation and deducts it from your wages, this must be clearly shown on the pay slip.

Danger: Only when your wages are above the so-called Garnishment exemption limit the costs for meals and accommodation can be offset directly against the wages. The seizure exemption limit depends on how many people you have to pay maintenance for.

Example 1: You are single and have no children. Nothing may be deducted up to a net income of EUR 1,179.99. From July 1, 2021, nothing may be deducted from a net income of up to EUR 1,259.99.

Example 2: You are married, you have two children and you are responsible for the maintenance of three other people. Nothing may be deducted up to a net income of EUR 2,109.99. From July 1, 2021, nothing may be deducted from a net income of up to EUR 2,249.99. The employer can only charge costs for food and accommodation if the net income is above this limit.

For the Catering The following maximum amounts can be credited in 2021:

Per month: For breakfast 55.00 euros, for lunch 104.00 euros and for dinner 104.00 euros. This results in a total of a maximum of EUR 263.00 per month.

Per day: For breakfast 1.83 euros, for lunch 3.47 euros and for dinner 3.47 euros. This results in a total daily rate of a maximum of 8.77 euros.

For the accommodation a maximum of EUR 237.00 per month may be charged. If you are staying with several people in the same room, less must be deducted: for two people a maximum of 142.20 euros, for three people 118.50 euros and for more than three people 94.80 euros.

Occupational safety, equipment and water

All work equipment and personal protective equipment must be made available to you by the employer free of charge. This includes work-appropriate gloves as well as sun and rain protection. You must also be provided with sufficient water when working in the heat.

When doing your first monthly pay slip, make sure that nothing has been deducted from your wages.

The current occupational health and safety regulations against the coronavirus stipulate that a distance of at least 1.5 meters must also be maintained during work. You should work in fixed groups of no more than four people. Only if working on a machine demonstrably requires it, up to 15 people can work in a group.

Health insurance

If you work 70 days a year in Germany and do not work professionally, you are considered to be employed at short notice. In this case, no social security contributions will be paid for you in Germany. This year this rule was extended to 102 days.

If you are normally employed subject to social security contributions in your home country, you must prove this with an A1 certificate. This means that you are covered by social and health insurance in your home country for the first 102 days that you work in Germany. Make sure that you have proof of health insurance that is valid in Germany.

If you employed at short notice and do not have an A1 certificate, it is possible that you are only insured against accidents at work in Germany. Ask the farmer whether you have private health insurance.

If you want to extend your work beyond 102 days, your employer must register you with the German social security system. Make sure of this! Ask your employer and have your social security registration form handed over to you.

If you are sick and have been put on sick leave by a doctor, you will continue to receive your wages during the period of illness if you have been working in the same company for more than four weeks.

Status: April 2021

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