Who is hiring employees in a company?

Social insurance: no company headquarters in Germany? How to correctly register employees

English version:

The following applies in the European Union: Employees who work in a member state are subject to the social security obligation there - regardless of the country in which the employer is based.

The basis is Article 21 (1) of the EU Implementing Regulation (EC) 987/09. This means that a foreign employer has to register his employees in Germany for social security and pay contributions as if the company had a seat in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Exceptions apply in two cases:

  • As part of a posting, the employee is only temporarily working for his foreign employer in Germany (radiation).
  • For the employee, an exception agreement applies, which is agreed between the social security agencies of the federal states. On the German side, the German Liaison Office for Health Insurance Abroad (DVKA) is responsible.

Register employees in Germany for social security - this is how it works

Apply for a company number

In order to employ employees in Germany subject to social security contributions, companies need a company number. This is awarded by the Employment Agency (click here for the online application). Registration for the registration procedure with the German social security agencies is only possible with this number.

Choose health insurance

In Germany, employees have the choice of which health insurance company they want to be insured with. Before starting the employment relationship, the employee informs his employer which fund he has chosen. Prospective insured persons are provided with information on TK in German, English and other languages. You can find an overview of the online services for the insured in the TK insurance portal.

Register with the German social security system

Anyone in Germany who has an employee who is subject to social security contributions must use a special online registration process. For this purpose, companies use payroll programs that are approved for data exchange with health insurance companies. If employers do not have such a program, they can use the sv.net fill-in aid created by the health insurance companies free of charge. You can obtain information on the job code required when registering from the Federal Employment Agency. We provide detailed information in our sv.net advice sheet (PDF, 226 kB) on sv.net.

Pay contributions and send evidence in due time

It is the duty of the employer in Germany to send the proof of contributions to the social security in due time and to pay the contribution. The evidence may also only be transmitted online via system-checked accounting programs or via filling aids such as sv.net. The proof of contribution must be submitted to the health insurance company with which the employee is insured no later than the fifth to last bank working day of the month. You can find detailed information on this in the TK advice sheet "Advice sheet for proof of contributions (PDF, 57 kB)".

The contributions are due no later than the third-last banking day of the month in which the employment is carried out.

Further information on the subject of premium payments:

Authorized representative in Germany

Foreign employers with employees in Germany who are subject to social security contributions must appoint an authorized representative in Germany from January 1, 2021, who must keep and keep remuneration documents in German for future tax audits (Section 28f (1b) SGB IV). This can be the employee himself or a third party (e.g. tax advisor).

The authorized representative can submit the payment documents to be checked according to ยง 28p SGB IV in his own or in the business premises of the checking body. The application of Section 98 Paragraph 1 Clause 4 SGB X, according to which the examination must be carried out in the employer's business premises in certain cases, is excluded if the authorized representative's business premises are integrated into his private sphere. The liability for the fulfillment of the obligations according to this book remains fully with the foreign employer, who is also the addressee of the test report.

Send annual report

The health insurance company must be notified of the employee's salary in the past year by February 15 at the latest. This is the value on the basis of which the contributions were calculated. The health insurance forwards this to the relevant pension insurance as part of an annual report.

Special feature: transfer of contributions to the employee

As an employer, are you based abroad? Then you can make an agreement with the employee in Germany that he will take over the employer's task of paying the contributions for you. The basis for this is Article 21 Paragraph 2 in Regulation (EC) 987/09.

With this procedure, the employee takes over the reporting for social security, the submission of the contribution statements as well as the payment of the total social security contribution. The employer remains liable to the social security institutions for the payment of the contributions.