Working students

Earning money while studying

published: 10.01.2013

The combination of study and work: Working student (Foto: Annie Spratt/Unsplash) The combination of study and work: Working student (Foto: Annie Spratt/Unsplash)

Anyone who is employed as a working student is exempt from health, nursing care and unemployment insurance. The TK will inform you of what you should know in order to be able to work as a working student.

Gaining experience – what is most important during work experience is also important for working students: getting to know the routine within a company as a complement to the theoretic conveyance of knowledge at the university. Contrary to the case with work experience, the working student always has a genuine working relationship. In other words: Whereas many work experience people are only rewarded with the gained experience, working students earn proper money – for financing their studies or to cover the costs of living. Contributions to health, nursing care and unemployment insurance are not due during this time.

When is a student a working student?
In order to be able to work as a working student, you must matriculate as a regular student at a university or college. The term “regular student” also includes students who complete their studies at a state recognised vocational school or other educational institution (for example Technical or Master Schools). Anyone who has passed his/her finals or has left university, can of course no longer work as a working student.

Can students of open universities and extra-mural students be working students?
The general rule is: Only students who complete their full-time studies can be working students and exempted from the insurance and contribution obligation. Participants in a study preparatory course and guest students do not qualify as full-time students and are therefore not liable for contributions. The case is slightly different for students of the Open University Hagen. They can work as working students if they are registered for full-time studies and in addition can provide evidence that they are actually studying as full-time study in the open university system..

What restrictions are there?
A major prerequisite for the working students ruling is that the course of study must represent the main focus of the student’s work. What does really this mean? The employment must be subordinated to the studies both with regard to time and to the working energy involved.

This principle is fulfilled if during the semester a student…

...does not work more than 20 hours per week.

...does in fact work more than 20 hours a week but the working hours fall mainly in the evenings or at nights or at weekends. In this case the work must remain subsidiary to the studies!

...the weekly working hours exceed 20 hours but employment is limited to two months.

In the semester holidays students can work full-time. In case the student has several employment contracts the number of weekly working hours is added together in order to judge whether exemption from insurance applies.

Does the exemption from paying insurance contributions also apply to pension insurance?
Not in every case. Exempted from pension insurance is only any person who only has a so-called „short-time employment“. The condition for this: The salary does not exceed 400 Euro monthly (mini-job) or the work has been restricted from the very beginning to two months (or 50 working days) per annum.

With regard to the topic of family insurance, care must be taken with the income limit. This can be inapplicable under certain circumstances, even if the employment does not involve compulsory insurance as employee. This applies if you earn more than 365 Euro per month for more than two months within a year. For short-time employment the threshold is 400 Euro.

Do you have further questions? The TK advisers have the answers for you.

[Jens Findeisen]


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