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Hiring employees: checklist for employers


1. Apply for a company number

Before you can hire your first employee as an employer, you must apply for a company number from the Federal Employment Agency. You need this in order to be able to fulfill your reporting obligations to the health insurance company, for example the registration and deregistration of employees or a notification of an interruption of the employment relationship. You can apply for a company number online at bno.arbeitsagentur.de.

Contact address at the Federal Employment Agency

Company number service of the Federal Employment Agency
Eschberger Weg 68
66121 Saarbrücken
Tel: 0800 4 5555-20
Fax: 0681 988429-1300
[email protected]


2. Record employees: employers need these documents

If you have found a suitable candidate for your company after completing the application process, you will need the following documents and information:

  • Completed personnel questionnaire (personal information, information on employment, tax, etc.)
  • ID card (copy or template)
  • Pension insurance number (letter from the pension insurance institution)
  • Member certificate of health insurance
  • Tax identification number (tax ID)
  • Electronic wage tax deduction features (ELStAM) (accessed via the financial administration database)
  • Certificate of leave from the last employer (if available)
  • Documentation for capital formation payments (if available)
  • Work and residence permit (for foreign employees)
  • Severely handicapped ID card (if available)
  • Industry-specific evidence (e.g. health certificate in care professions, driving license for professional drivers, etc.)
  • Evidence of additional qualifications (e.g. forklift license, welding license, REFA certificate)

3. Draw up an employment contract

In addition to other information, the employment contract stipulates which work an employee has to perform and to what extent. For you as an employer, the employment contract serves as the basis for the expected work performance and its evaluation. Information in the employment contract is often highly relevant in legal disputes with employees. Further details about the employment contract can be found here.

Content of a written employment contract

In principle, it is possible for you to first hire employees without stating any employment contract regulations in writing. However, the legislator prescribes that the essential information on the employment relationship is recorded in writing at the latest one month after starting work and given to the employee (Evidence Act, Section 2, Paragraph 1, No. 4).

Minimum information in an effective employment contract

  • Name and address of the employer
  • Name and address of the employee
  • Indication of the place of work
  • Job descrption
  • The beginning of employment
  • Duration of the probationary period, if agreed (max. 6 months)
  • Duration of the employment relationship (with fixed-term contracts)
  • working hours
  • Annual vacation entitlement of the employee (at least 24 working days)
  • Notice periods
  • Amount and composition of remuneration

The employment contract must be signed by both parties to the contract. If this is your first time hiring, you should seek advice from a knowledgeable attorney. Together you can create a standard contract for all new hires, in which individual details can be easily changed for each employee. In this way you avoid mistakes in the content of the employment contract, as these can lead to compensation payments in the event of lawsuits by the employee. You can find extensive information on the creation of employment contracts and individual clauses here.


4. Register employees

Reporting obligations for new employees

New employees are to be registered at these positions:

  • social insurance
  • Statutory accident insurance (professional association)
  • Tax office
  • possibly health department


Registration of new employees with the social security

In Germany, all employees are legally insured in health, long-term care, pension and unemployment insurance. Only certain professional groups are exempt from the statutory insurance requirement. You can obtain information on this from any health insurance company.

As an employer, you are obliged to submit reports to the social security agency. If you hire new employees, one of your first obligations is to register the new employees with the responsible health insurance company so that they can act as a so-called collection point for social security contributions from now on. In the case of mini-jobbers, the employees are reported and the flat-rate fee is paid to the mini-job center. If a report to the health insurance company is grossly negligent or intentional not, incompletely or incorrectly submitted, it is an administrative offense. This can be punished with a heavy fine.

For example, the following employees must register with the responsible health insurance companies:

  • Compulsorily insured employees (health, long-term care, unemployment and pension insurance)
  • Employees who are exempt from insurance because they exceed the annual income limit
  • Marginally employed
  • Part-time employees
  • Employees who have reached the age of 65

If in doubt, the best thing to do is to ask the health insurance company whether you need to register the employee concerned.

Immediate reports to social security

Depending on the industry in which you work as an entrepreneur, you must immediately report the hiring of new employees to the social security agency. This immediate report must be made at the latest on the day on which the employee starts work. This regulation affects the following industries, among others:

  • Construction and showman trades
  • Building cleaning industry
  • Catering and accommodation
  • Operators of passenger transport, forwarding and transport companies
  • Operated by the meat industry
  • forestry

In case of doubt, the responsible social insurance agency can provide you with information as to whether an immediate report is required in your case.

Registration without a membership certificate from the health insurance company

In order to be able to register your new employee with the health insurance company, you need their membership certificate of the health insurance company no later than two weeks after starting work. In the event that the employee cannot provide you with a membership certificate before the two-week period has expired, you can register him with the health insurance company with which he was last insured. The employee is obliged to provide information in this regard and must inform you of his last health insurance company on request. If the employee was not insured by a health insurance company before being hired, he must select it and inform you about it.

Contribution and notification procedure to the social security

The exchange of data between the collection agencies and employers as part of the contribution and notification procedure is now only possible via encrypted data transmission. You can use system-tested and approved programs or automated fill-in aids for this. The use of registration forms or the sending of data carriers is no longer possible.


Registration of employees with the statutory accident insurance

Entrepreneurs must register new employees with the employers' liability insurance association (BG), the statutory accident insurance company responsible for them. It does not matter whether the new employees are employed by them in an apprenticeship, employment or service relationship. Employers pay the contributions to statutory accident insurance alone; there is no employee share. As with social insurance, the transfer of wages to the responsible trade association or accident insurance fund is only possible digitally. You can find an overview of the responsibilities of the individual professional associations here.

Registration of new employees at the tax office

As an employer, you are responsible for withholding your employees' wage taxes and paying them to the tax office in good time. New employees must therefore be registered with the tax office immediately. You can carry out this registration online via ELSTER (ELektronic TAX declaration) and thus register the employee for the ELStAM procedure. For this registration you need the date of birth and the tax identification number of the employee. In addition, when registering, you must indicate whether the employment relationship is a so-called main employment relationship (tax classes 1 to 5) or a secondary employment relationship (tax class 6).

If the employee cannot give you a tax ID, this can be obtained online from the Federal Central Tax Office. In order to be able to correctly pay the employees' income tax, you must assign the employees to the correct tax class. Ask a tax advisor about this.


Hire employees: Report to the health department

If you manufacture, process or sell food in your company, such as B. restaurants or butchers, you have to register your employees with the health department. A clearance certificate from a medical officer is required for this registration. This is necessary to ensure that the employee is in a position to perform the agreed activity in terms of health.

Further articles on hiring new employees:


The information published on our site is all written and checked by experts with the greatest care. However, we cannot guarantee that it is correct, as laws and regulations are subject to constant change. Therefore, always consult a technical expert in a specific case - we will be happy to put you in touch.

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