The social security in Germany protects against the risks of illness, unemployment, occupational disability and nursing needs. Foreign workers from any EU state or non-EU-state are insured by their employers in each sector of the legal social security. Concerning the health insurance, the employers need to choose one and give their employees the details. The social security consists of five points:

– health insurance
– nursing insurance
– pension scheme
– unemployment insurance
– accident insurance

Health insurance

The central point of the social security insurance is the legal health insurance: Around 90% of the population is insured in this way. Employees and trainees are compulsorily insured, meaning that there is a legal requirement to get the insurance. Employees, therefore, need to choose a health insurance before starting their work. There are around 170 health insurances where one gets compulsorily insured. If the employer is insured by one of the legal health insurances, then his family members – wife, children – are automatically and insured as well without further costs, but only if they do not have their own salary, or have a very low one.

They enjoy the same rights as the members (employees). Children up to their finished 18th year of age, or the end of their 25th year if they continue their education at a school or university, are insured by their family. If a Voluntary Service was completed, the time of the family plan policy is extended by this time.

The health insurance with most members and which operates throughout the whole of Germany is the BARMER GEK. This insurance is open to trainees and students, as well as employees. It works together with the internet database xy.xy and so it is also a great idea for foreign employees. There is a central information point for foreign workers who have the EU blue card and where all questions concerning the health insurance can be asked. For more information see here.

Nursing insurance

All members of the legal health insurance are automatically members of the social nursing insurance. The nursing insurance follows the health insurance. That also includes family members. Nursing needs exist if one needs, because of physical, mental illness or other impediment, a considerable or higher measure of the usual performances of everyday life, like personal care, feeding, mobility and house-economic care.

Pension scheme

The legal pension scheme serves the old-age pension of the employees. In the pension scheme all employees are compulsorily insured basically. This is regardless of the size of their salary. The age limit for the unemployment insurance will be raised between 2012 and 2029 gradually from 65 to 67 years.

Unemployment insurance

The unemployment insurance is a legal compulsory insurance for all employees and trainees in Germany. The federal agency for work is in Nuremberg. In the single federal states there are regional managements and agencies for work in the towns.

Accident insurance

All employees and trainees in the Federal Republic of Germany are accident-insured. This is valid regardless of the size of their working remuneration and the duration of their labour condition. Also, students and pupils are protected during their time in school and university by the legal accident insurance.