Working in Germany. Weihnachtsgeld (Christmas bonus) in Germany. For many employees in Germany, the Christmas bonus, also known as the thirteenth salary (Weihnachtsgeld), is an important part of the annual income. Depending on the industry, the differences are huge. Some of the workers will receive upto 3,700 euros.
Thirteenth salary in Germany in 2022
Many employees will receive an additional salary in December from their employer. However, it should be noted that not all employees in Germany will receive it. Employers can decide whether to pay this bonus. In other cases, the payment of the bonus is mandatory. The chances of getting the Christmas bonus are higher in West than in East Germany. There are fewer companies in the eastern federal states that are bound by collective agreements.
Each year, 54% of employees in Germany receive a Christmas bonus. But the chance of this special payment is almost twice as high in companies bound by collective agreements (79%) than in companies without a collective agreement (42%), according to the Hans Institute of Economic and Social Sciences (WSI). The amount varies by industry, with this year varying from 250 euros in agriculture to 3,715 euros in the chemical industry.
“In the face of historically high inflation rates in Germany, the Christmas bonus is more important than ever for many employees,” said Thorsten Schulten, head of the WSI’s collective agreement archive. “It creates a buffer, at least in the short term, to be able to react to the rising cost of living.” The Christmas bonus is calculated as a fixed percentage of the monthly salary in most cases – according to the WSI, only a few industries set a fixed rate. The special payment is either collectively agreed or based on the goodwill of the employer.
Who will receive the biggest Christmas bonus
The value of the Christmas bonus depends largely on the industry. Industries that will receive the bonus are the chemical industry, parts of the energy industry, the confectionery industry, Deutsche Bahn, some banks and some employees in the textile industry and the private transport industry. Up to 110 percent of the monthly salary is paid in the steel industry.
Latest research by the Hans Böckler Foundation’s Institute of Economic and Social Sciences (WSI) shows that full-time employees receive a special bonus more often than part-time employees (55% versus 50%). Compared to 48% of temporary workers, 54% of permanent workers receive a Christmas bonus. Men receive Christmas bonuses slightly more often (55%) than women (52%).
Taxation of Christmas allowance
Thirteenth salary, Christmas bonus, discretionary bonuses or profit sharing are taxed in Germany on the same basis as monthly salary.