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I am German citizen and got excited about remote positions. However, how does that work with German health insurance, German retirement plans and so on? Is there a possibility to still be employed in Germany even if the company does not have a branch office in Germany? Or will I just be a freelancer under German law and have to seek health insurance and retirement plans myself as a freelancer would?

  • I recently got into a very similar situation. In my case the company would have to follow all employment laws including reporting my taxes, pay into the national vacation system, and follow all the other danish employment laws in order to employ me normally. Thus you will likely need to be working through a freelancer style contract. I strongly recommend contacting a lawyer to get Germany specific details (this is what I did: my union has a collection of lawyers for this purpose) – Alice Ryhl Feb 9 at 14:07
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    There is a third possibility - using an umbrella compayn thatt hires the employee and writes an invoices to the real company. Those are regularly used also by freelancers that need a vehicle becuause some countries are particular with freelancers. – TomTom Feb 9 at 21:31
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    Your obligations stem from your place of work, not the location of the employer. You can't substitute freelancing for employment as that would be seen as Scheinselbständigkeit. Setting up a UG/GmbH avoids this issue, but means that you have all the obligations of an employer (don't underestimate how much this costs). Foreign companies are unlikely to be interested in dealing with German employment laws, but it's not unheard of. – amon Feb 10 at 6:51
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    The problem is that the easiest way to set it up is an umbrella. Projecting a full organization with all the requirements for ONE employee is utterly not smart - it will cost a lot of money to register the company, handle accounting etc. – TomTom Feb 10 at 10:28
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    if they run a branch office of have multiple people that makes more sense - because the costs are not going up a lot for additional people. But if you do that for ONE person you end up paying like a SIGNIFICANT surcharge and having a lot of additional paperwork just to fulfill the requirements of one person in a country. – TomTom Feb 10 at 11:31

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