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Christmas bonus in Germany: Weihnachtsgeld in 2021 – how much it is and who is entitled to it?

Christmas bonus (Weihnachtsgeld) is paid in Germany at the end of November to employees. Here’s how much it is and who is entitled to it?

In 2021, 9 out of 10 employees of companies and enterprises bound by collective labour agreements will receive a Christmas bonus. As announced on Monday, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) in 2021 will receive a Christmas bonus of 87.9 percent for company employees. The average Christmas bonus ( Weihnachtsgeld) in 2021 will be gross of € 2,677. In some industries, however, employees will only receive a bonus of EUR 300 , and in others over EUR 5,500.

In companies not bound by a collective labour agreement, less than half of the employees will receive the allowance.

Christmas bonus in Germany in 2021

Weihnachtsgeld Christmas bonus is paid in Germany at the end of November. According to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, 87.2% of workers in collective agreements in Germany will receive a Christmas bonus this year.

The average gross Christmas bonus will be € 2,677. This is 1.9% more than in 2020 (EUR 2,627). The average holiday bonus for employees covered by collective agreements in western Germany (€ 2,695) is 5.5% higher than in eastern Germany (€ 2,554), reports Destatis.

The amount of the holiday bonus depends on the industry

The amount of the jointly agreed Christmas bonus varies greatly from sector to sector, where several collective agreements may be envisaged. The above-average Christmas bonus will be paid in 2021, among others in the area of ​​”mineral oil production”.

All employees there receive a Christmas bonus of an average of EUR 5,651 on the basis of collective agreements. Workers in the “chemical products manufacturing” sector will receive an allowance of EUR 5369, and in the “energy supply” sector of EUR 5171 . In both sectors, 98.8% and 98.0%, respectively, of employees are entitled to a Christmas bonus.

High bonuses will also be given to workers in the “Clothing production” ( EUR 2,676 ) and “Food and animal feed production” sectors (EUR 2,519). In these industries, the bonus is granted to 100% or 82.4% of employees covered by collective agreements.

Low Christmas bonuses from 300 to 860 euros

The lowest Christmas bonus is awarded to people employed on the basis of collective agreements in the “employment agency and leasing” sector. Here, the average Christmas bonus is EUR 301 and is due to 99.0% of employees covered by collective agreements. Also in the hotel sector, there is a below-average Christmas bonus of around 861 euros . 92.4% of employees subject to collective bargaining will receive it.

Christmas bonus in Germany in private companies

In companies not bound by a collective labour agreement , less than half of the employees receive the holiday bonus. Last year, about 42 percent of the employee received the bonus.

When does the employer have to pay a Christmas bonus and when is it not?

Only in a few cases is the law coercing the employer to pay a Christmas bonus.  This applies to those industries where employee rights and the amount of monthly remuneration are determined by collective employment contracts or company agreements developed in agreement with trade unions.

Usually, collective labour contracts state that the amount of the holiday bonus should be the same as the monthly salary, which is why in many industries the  Weihnachtsgeld is simply called the thirteenth (thirteenth salary).

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In companies where employees are not covered by collective agreements, it is the employer’s good will to pay the holiday bonus, but there are situations where the employee has the right to claim it. According to the German Labour Code, the principle of equal treatment of employees applies. This means that the employer cannot omit some employees from paying the Christmas bonus. This also applies to employees employed on the so-called small-time job ( Minijob ).

In companies not bound by collective labour agreements, the amount of the holiday bonus varies. On average, an amount ranging from 60 to 80% of the monthly salary is paid.

The Christmas bonus can also be paid in the form of vouchers.

Taxation of the Christmas bonus

The thirteenth salary, Christmas bonus, discretionary bonuses or profit sharing are taxed in Germany in the same way as monthly wages.

Christmas bonuses in the form of Christmas bonuses are exempt from tax.