An artist is self-employed in another European country and takes up marginal employment (monthly income of up to 520 euros) or short-term employment (up to three months or 70 working days in the course of a calendar year) in Germany. This can be the case, for example, if a self-employed artist from abroad comes to Germany to work in a self-employed capacity and takes on an unplanned additional mini-job during their stay. It is also the case if an artist is self-employed in the border region around Germany and has a marginal job in Germany.
What is marginal employment and what is short-term employment? You can find information about this here.
In this case, the artist is considered to be working in several countries at the same time, and as soon as the employment begins, German law applies. This is true as long as the activity is not insignificant. Insignificant activities are activities which account for less than 5% of the total volume of all activities in terms of time and remuneration (in relation to the next 12 months).
The following applies in the case of a mini-job: Neither persons in marginal employment nor short-term employees are subject to compulsory statutory health insurance coverage, long-term care insurance or unemployment insurance. However, employers must pay fixed amounts into the statutory health and pension insurance funds. This is done through the Knappschaft statutory social insurance scheme.
This means that in terms of health insurance, the artist is subject to German law (due to simultaneous activity in several countries). Although health insurance is not mandatory for the artist as a result of the mini-job itself, they still need health insurance coverage in Germany under German law and must insure themselves voluntarily. Any health insurance coverage that may have been in place abroad ends, as German law applies uniformly to all employment/activities once the mini-job begins – this includes the self-employed activity abroad.
How to proceed
Before hiring the employee, the employer must clarify how to correctly handle any social security obligations. They will request relevant information in advance (other activities, insurance, etc.). If it is unclear how the employment relationship is to be assessed from a social security point of view, information must be obtained from the mini-job centre (Minijobzentrale) before the employment begins:
The artists' social security fund (Künstlersozialkasse, KSK) should also be able to provide information (see the KSK questionnaire for checking the obligation to insure under the Artists' Social Security Act /Künstlersozialversicherungsgesetz - in German).
Obtaining an exemption
If you are taking up a mini-job that is limited in time from the outset, it may be possible to apply for an exemption from the relevant foreign authorities before you start work. Please be advised, however, that the foreign legislation may still apply in this case. If so, the employer in Germany will have to pay social security contributions abroad, which many employers find too burdensome.
Please note: an application for exemption must always be submitted to the competent authority in the country whose legislation will continue to apply. The DVKA provides information on the competent authorities abroad in its information sheets information sheets (German).
An artist is employed in another European country but also takes up a marginal or short-term job in Germany at the same time.
Variant 1: If the employment in the country of residence continues to be substantial (at least 25% of the working hours or income), the legal regulations of the country of residence will continue to apply.
Consequence: The employer in Germany must draw up an employment contract in accordance with foreign law and pay social security contributions to the foreign insurance funds, even if the job in Germany is a mini-job (income tax is payable in Germany, however). It does not matter whether the employment is marginal or short-term; only the foreign legislation applies.
If the foreign legislation applies, the employer and the artist can agree that the artist will take care of their obligations abroad. In this case, the employer pays the employee and employer contributions and the artist pays the social security contributions abroad. The employer in Germany remains the guarantor.
In any case, it is essential to obtain information from the competent authority abroad in advance. The DVKA provides information on the competent authorities abroad in its information sheets information sheets (German).
Variant 2: The German legal regulations apply – for all activities – if the employment in the country of residence is no longer substantial.
The artist must take out voluntary statutory (if possible) or private insurance coverage.
Variant 3: What happens if an individual's employment abroad is interrupted and in the meantime, i.e., while between two jobs, they take up marginal or short-term employment in Germany? This is often the case with performing artists in France and Belgium who are only temporarily employed for their performances and receive unemployment benefits in between (intermittence).
An artist who receives unemployment benefits abroad and is employed in Germany for a short period of time is considered to be gainfully employed in more than one country, since the receipt of unemployment benefits is equated with employment. In any case, the artist must contact the competent authority in their country of residence to determine which law applies. The DVKA provides information on the competent authorities abroad in its information sheets information sheets (German).
It is questionable whether the foreign unemployment benefit can be retained when taking up employment in Germany.