How much should politicians be paid

What does everyday work look like?

It's a long way to get to the Bundestag, but once you've made it to Berlin as a professional politician, your daily routine as a member of parliament looks something like this:

6:00 a.m.

The day starts particularly early for you today, because there is a new week of meetings in Berlin. So after breakfast you go to the airport to take a plane to the capital.

10:40 a.m.

You enter the Paul-Löbe-Haus near the Bundestag and hurry to your office. Your assistants are already on site and inform you about the upcoming dates for this week. You can also discuss incoming letters and e-mails.

12:00 o'clock

Your first session is at lunchtime. In the work and social affairs group of your party you are discussing today how you can make the transition from work to retirement more flexible. So you want to give people with particularly physically demanding jobs more leeway.

2:10 p.m.

Back in the office, you pick up the sandwich that your team has laid out for you. Then you look through the finished text of an interview that you gave a few days ago. Certain statements about the current government now seem a bit too critical to you. You delete this and give the revised version back to the responsible employee.

3:15 p.m.

Since the public is currently loudly complaining about poor working conditions in the care sector and you are dealing intensively with this topic, you would like to publish a press release with your opinion. One of your assistants has prepared a text for you that you like overall. Together you are still working on individual formulations before you are completely satisfied.

4:05 pm

Towards the end of the week you should give a speech in the plenary session of the Bundestag. After you have agreed with your work group at noon, you can now formulate in detail how you imagine a more flexible entry into retirement.

7:00 p.m.

In the evening you will take part in a meeting of the regional group. Over a warm meal, you will discuss with your colleagues how you want to behave in the parliamentary group as a representative of the state of Baden-Württemberg on various political issues.

10:10 p.m.

A long working day is coming to an end. Take the train home to recharge your batteries in your second home in Berlin.


  • Sense of responsibility
  • Good reasoning skills
  • Charisma
  • The talent to inspire people for you and your ideas
  • loyalty
  • Decision-making power

What does a politician do?

The difficulty in planning a career as a politician is, among other things, that you are dependent on the favor and vote of the voters. It is therefore important for you to seek contact with them as often as possible. While you as a member of the Bundestag in Berlin attend countless meetings, you have the time in the free phases to take care of your constituency in your home country. Here you would like to find out which specific topics move people and, above all, which problems are particularly serious, so that there is a need for action for you. For example, you will be available to answer questions in citizens' office hours or visit various clubs, associations and non-profit organizations. In addition, you show yourself at city festivals and other celebrations so that people get to know you or perceive your commitment to the region. Nowadays you also use the various social networks so that you can generate as much attention as possible for yourself.
You spend a large part of your working life as a politician taking part in various meetings, committees and discussions. In specific working groups for finance, education or defense, you sit down with colleagues from your party to discuss the relevant topic in detail and to come to a unified opinion. You then represent them in committees in which you once again discuss non-partisanly with all elected representatives. For example, in the annual budget committee you debate how much money the federal government can spend on which projects. In this way, resolutions and draft laws are created that serve as preparation for the decisions that are ultimately made by the city council, state parliament or, at the highest level, the Bundestag. In a similar way, you vote in parliamentary group meetings with all members of your party in parliament on which position you will take on a particular issue. You bring these into the discussion at coalition meetings. The aim here is to achieve the best possible compromise.
Obviously, politicians talk a lot with the aim of promoting their ideas. In addition to internal debates among colleagues, you will also give public speeches on a variety of occasions. Sometimes this only has a representative purpose like opening a festival in your constituency. If, on the other hand, you stand at the lectern in the state or Bundestag, it is important for you to present the previously agreed views of your party on a certain topic with convincing arguments. Since various party representatives express themselves in this way, you have the opportunity to critically respond to what has been heard beforehand. At the same time, you have to be prepared for unexpected questions in order to cut a good figure in this case too. If the subject matter is currently particularly present in the public eye, it is possible that an excerpt from your speech appears on television. Accordingly, it is important to use compact, meaningful formulations that the press would like to use as quotations. It is very similar with interviews. Journalists try to elicit short statements from you that they use for their news reports. Here you pay particular attention to what you express and how, as you do not want to offer any target for criticism.
As a member of the German Bundestag (MP), you don't have to be a lone fighter, you are free to hire assistants for your office. They support you in completing a variety of parliamentary tasks. If you cannot attend a meeting due to your busy schedule, you send an employee to take notes for you instead. You will also often receive press releases and other public announcements prepared so that you only need to arrows in detail on the wording. In the case of interviews, journalists need your approval before publication. Together with your employees, you check the text again to make sure that you do not make yourself vulnerable in one way or another with certain statements. In addition, your team will of course take on a lot of other organizational activities for you, such as receiving and sending mail.

What are the job prospects?

In contrast to many other industries, you cannot plan a career in politics. Too many factors play a role such as the size and structure of your party, your success or influence with the voters and your network of contacts. In addition to a seamless career from the local association to the Bundestag, you also have the opportunity to enter the profession as a career changer in another specialist area and to skip some stations in the process. Even as a professional politician, however, you are not guaranteed this job until you retire, as party members or voters can withdraw their trust.

What qualities should I have?

    What high political offices can you achieve as a politician?

    As Federal Chancellor, you and the Federal Ministers form the German government for at least 4 years, whose political guidelines you, as the boss, set. However, you also coordinate your actions with the ideas of your party and your coalition partners. After a Bundestag election, the Federal President proposes to the Bundestag a person as Federal Chancellor who must be a German citizen and at least 18 years of age. He pays attention to the strength of the individual parliamentary groups and possible coalitions between the parties. His election then falls on a politician who he believes will receive a majority of the votes of the MPs. Usually this is a party's candidate for chancellor. In the following secret ballot, the members of parliament decide for or against the proposed Federal Chancellor of the Federal President. An absolute majority is sufficient, i.e. half of all votes plus one.
    You hold the nominally highest office in Germany as Federal President. So that you take on more representative tasks at state visits and other festivities. As a neutral politician, you are above the individual parties. It is up to you, however, to what extent you express your opinion on politics and other public issues. In addition, you will conclude contracts with foreign states and appoint or dismiss federal judges, officials, officers and non-commissioned officers. If you want to become Federal President, you have to be a German citizen and at least 40 years old. The election is made by the Federal Assembly, in which all members of the Bundestag and an equal number of people's representatives from the individual federal states take part. After the first 5-year term of office, you can run again.
    If you take on the post of Foreign Minister as a member of the government, you are mainly concerned with Germany’s relations with other countries. You follow different interests. As part of security policy, you strive to maintain peace among the countries and intervene in crises and other conflicts in order to find diplomatic solutions for everyone involved. In the economic area, you will discuss trade benefits or so-called free trade agreements, which allow customs duties and other export and import restrictions to be lifted among the contractual partners. Conversely, with trade barriers you put pressure on nations that do not adhere to certain international guidelines.
    In the office of finance minister you hold your hand over the tax money that the state collects from the citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany. Together with the Federal Chancellor, you will decide which areas will get something and how much. You can provide funds for the renovation of the motorways or support the construction of day-care centers. In doing so, you make sure that the state does not spend more than is available to it on the income. This will prevent the country from becoming more indebted.


    • No training as a professional politician, therefore open to career changers
    • Conferring offices for one term
    • Often volunteer work in small communities

    Did you already know, that ...

    • ... the so-called ox tour describes the lengthy and arduous career path of a professional politician from the youth organization in the home town to the Bundestag in Berlin?
    • ... the salary of a mayor is based on the population of his city, so mayors of large cities earn significantly better than their colleagues in small communities?
    • ... Helmut Kohl is the Federal Chancellor with the longest term in office and has ruled for a total of 16 years in a row? Angela Merkel can, however, catch up with him before she regularly resigns from office.

    These celebrities are politicians too

    Angela Merkel

    As Federal Chancellor, Angela Merkel has been shaping political life in Germany for over 10 years. After her third re-election in 2017, however, she announced that this would be her last term. (Image: © Armin Linnartz / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE (via Wikimedia Commons))

    Andrea Nahles

    Andrea Nahles is the first woman at the top of the SPD since the party was founded in 1863. Her long journey to the top began in her home village of Weiler, where she founded a local SPD association as a teenager. (Image: Pixabay)

    Frank-Walter Steinmeier

    Frank-Walter Steinmeier was already head of the Federal Chancellery, Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor. As the current Federal President, Steinmeier is the head of state of Germany. He maintains international relations with colleagues from other countries and speaks about political events in the Federal Republic in his speeches. (Image: Pixabay)

    What speaks for the job

    1. You get the chance to have a say in the developments of your city, your region or even your country
    2. Open profession for career changers, as there is no special training
    3. Good earnings prospects as a professional politician

    What speaks against the job

    1. Long working days and commitments on weekends and holidays
    2. A career in politics cannot be planned in principle

    Starting salary as a politician

    Since, at best, you were already involved in politics in your youth, you probably know that at the beginning of your career you usually do voluntary work in local politics. You will receive an expense allowance which, depending on the area of ​​responsibility, can be between € 300 ¹ and € 400 ¹ per month, so your starting salary as a politician is an average of € 350 ¹.

    In addition, there are attendance fees, compensation for loss of earnings and travel expenses. Many politicians work in another profession, especially at the beginning, in order to be able to finance their living expenses. Your later salary mainly depends on whether you work at local, state or federal level and which position you occupy.

    Salary based on work experience

    Your earnings as a politician mainly depend on your position. As a mayor, you join tariff group A 13 according to TVöD and receive € 4,401.78 ¹ at the beginning of your career. In this tariff group you can earn up to € 5,422.31 ¹ during your term of office. If you find yourself in the state parliament, you as a member of parliament will receive, depending on the federal state, a member's allowance, also known as a diet, between € 4,700 ¹ and € 9,330 ¹ gross. Your allowance as a member of the Bundestag is € 10,083.47 ¹ per month. As a minister, you earn € 21,845 ¹ per month.

    Salary based on work experience

    Your earnings as a politician mainly depend on your position. As mayor, you join tariff group A 13 according to TVöD and receive € 4,401.78 ¹ at the beginning of your career. In this tariff group you can earn up to € 5,422.31 ¹ during your term of office. If you find yourself in the state parliament, you as a member of parliament will receive a member's allowance, also known as a diet, between € 4,700 ¹ and € 9,330 ¹ gross, depending on the federal state. Your allowance as a member of the Bundestag is € 10,083.47 ¹ per month. As a minister, you earn € 21,845 ¹ per month.

    Salary by state

    As a politician, you earn the most in Hesse at 4,520 € ¹, closely followed by Baden-Württemberg with an income of around 4,410 € ¹. You get the lowest salary as a politician in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, but the cost of living is comparatively lower there. Your salary depends heavily on your position, for example as a mayor you get more income than in the local council.

    With these 877 courses you can become a politician