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Are you thinking about moving to Berlin and want to know what it's like to work at a German company? As someone who's been in Berlin for 10 years now, let me tell you about some of my favourite things about working in a German company:
1) The most obvious perk are holidays. While some countries like my native Canada or the US typically only offer 2-3 weeks annual leave, German companies start all employees with at least 5 weeks per year. Many companies also offer even more!
2) Companies in Berlin tend to offer some pretty cool in office perks like free lunch from time to time, and some companies even employ their own chef to offer a healthy menu in a subsidized canteen. Meaning you can eat onsite for cheaper than what it would cost to dine outside for lunch. Most companies boast a high-end coffee machine, with some being so complicated to use that companies even offer barista class as part of your onboarding. Companies usually have fridges full of beer to drink at the end of the day, endless water, juices, and other drinks, as well as fruit to keep you going.
3) Other common perks included fully or partially subsidized transit and gym passes, a paid for internet connection at home, or help with buying a new bike. Some companies even have their own doctor. For example, the company I work for offered Covid vaccines to any employee who wanted one, including their spouses.
4) Sick leave is very generous and you can be off for up to six weeks (with a doctor's note) before needing to take more drastic action. If you need to be off longer than that, there are provisions in place to ensure you continue to receive a portion of your pay. I had a major surgery this summer and was off for four weeks with pay, and didn't need to worry about losing my job.
5) Notice periods are longer than two weeks here. Once you pass probation (typically six months), if you want to leave a company or if they want to part ways with you, both sides need to adhere to the notice period. Most notice periods are three months, but I've had 2 months, and even a one month contract. If you quit, you need to provide them with notice and finish out the duration, but also, if the company lays you off, they have to pay you for that duration. You get more money for every year you've worked at the company as well. This is a type of security that I completely lacked in Canada!
5) Health insurance costs seem pretty steep, especially when you first see the deductions from your paycheque, but it covers a lot like sick days, hospital stays, prescriptions, and more. I fractured my foot a few years and had to wear a robo-cop like boot for a few months; the entire cost of the boot was covered by health insurance, as was my previously mentioned surgery.
6) Most companies are now offering remote work as a permanent option, as well as part-time work or even the chance to work in other parts of the world. Want to skip another long grey wet Berlin winter? Head to Australia for a couple of months!
7) As Germany is suffering from a massive labour shortage, they do a lot to attract certain candidates from other parts of the world. As such, relocation packages can be very generous, as companies cover flat rental, shipping costs, flights, daycare, and more to help you easily get settled in.
8) It's pretty commonplace for companies to offer German language classes for free.
9) The social aspect of working for a German company is another cool perk. There are usually big office parties 1-2 times a year, regular social events, and even, offsite team events.
10) Overall, there tends to be a better work life balance. In general, coming into the office when sick or working overtime is strongly discouraged.
Sounds pretty good, right? Even though, I listed out 10 points, I've barely scratched the surface of how great is to work in Germany. All in all, one can expect to enjoy a high quality of life in Berlin and it's one of the reasons, I continue to stay.
Hope you find this content helpful. If you have more questions, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you a great week ahead. Until next time,
Cheryl Howard - Founder of The Berlin Life