Mini-job in Germany

 

Around 8 million Germans work mini-jobs and, for most of them, they are their only source of income. Although this model – known as “minor employment model” – is heavily criticised, its success from an economic perspective has motivated other European countries to consider it as an option. Mini-jobs are

But, what is a mini-job? What about health insurance? Can a minijobber get fired?

In this post I try to answer all your questions. Let’s go!

What are mini-jobs?

A mini-job is any form of employment with an average monthly payment of no more than €450.

Although mini-jobs are typically related to cleaning jobs, they can also come from agencies, startups, language schools and larger companies looking for part-time help.

Which are the pros?

  • Minijobbers – people who have a mini-job contract – with no alternative source of income pay zero taxes on earnings up to €450
  • The state covers the minijobber’s social and health insurance
  • All minijobbers have the same rights as other employees, meaning that “same rights” apply on holiday and sick pay, as well as on maternity leave
  • Minijobbers can take on another side job

Which are the cons?

  • Minijobbers are usually paid a lower wage than fully employed colleagues
  • To improve emplyoment statistics – you may have heard that the unemployment rate in Germany is around 4% – politicians count minijobbers as regular working people
  • It can be difficult to turn a mini-job into a full-time job.

Who benefits from this kind of job contract?

Both parties.

For minijobbers, a mini-job is always a good opportunity to earn some money – the €450 arrive always to the person’s bank account with tax deducted already –  and get some experience in the German market.

There are my students that work as minijobbers while studying just to get some extra money. At the same time, many expats use this system to try working in a multicultural environment until they feel secure enough to work for a large company.

For employers, a mini-job is a good deal to save some money – they do not have to pay for insurance obligations – and to hire motivated professionals. A good example of this are startups companies. Most of them use this system to hire people until they have enough earnings to pay for higher salaries.

Why are mini-jobs more popular among young people?

Organic food in Germany

After many years of debate, the European Union reached a couple of weeks ago an agreement on an overhaul of the existing EU rules on organic production and labelling of organic products.

This agreement was taken based on the increasing consumer demand for organic food in the european countries and, at the same time, it sets uniform rules across the EU with the aim of encouraging the development of organic production in the EU, as well as of improving the labelling of organic food.

Is this new agreement important in Germany?

Yes, this agreement is a huge step for the German market since Germany is a key player in the global organic market and has also played a pioneering role in the organic (people call it BIO here) food movement since many years ago.

What is the definition of organic food?

Organic or BIO products are made of ingredients, which were produced without any synthetic inputs and do not have any chemical additives.

Organic products do not contain toxic substances such as parabens, phthalates or lanolin, among others.

How do I know that I am buying organic food?

Easily. In order to regulate organic food standards, the German ministry of agriculture issued, in 2001, a bio label which allows customers to distinguish all the organic products* of the market.

*Organic products: no less than 95% of the product’s ingredients of agricultural origin must come from organic farms.

 

With more than 40% of the European market, Germany is the biggest organic importer in Europe with a turnover of more than €7 billion and more than 3.000 German companies producing around 50.000 products which carry this label. To date, every day an average of 20 new products are submitted for certification.

Where can I find organic food in Germany?

Finding organic food in Germany is really easy, as you can already imagine. Many businesses offer organic products (food, beverages, cosmetics…) due to the importance of the BIO culture in this country.

If you are interested in buying organic food check the following list of organic grocery stores:

#1 Denn´s Biomarkt

#2 Super Biomarkt

#3 Bio Company

#4 Alnatura

#5 TEMMA

#6 Reformhaus

What I really like about these businesses is that they do not only offer organic products but also products for allergy and intolerance sufferers (like me!).

Can I find organic products in regular grocery stores?

Sure! Many companies like Rewe, Kaufhof, Edeka or Lidl offer some organic products (not that many to be honest, if you really like to eat organic food it is much better to buy at a organic places).

Where can I get more information about this topic?

There are several organic associations in Germany such as Demeter, Bioland, Biokreis, Naturland, Biopark and Ecovin where you can find more information about organic products (press on the name to discover more). Some of these organizations operate worldwide and follow stricter rules than EU ones.

Another interesting information point is the International Green Weekwhich takes place each January in Berlin (more information pressing the name) and has attracted thousand of visitors in recent years (around 400.000).

Is there place where I can find organic beauty products?

Sure! Although many people relate the words “organic” and “BIO” to food and beverages only, beauty and skincare organic products are also present in the German market.

Since many years I also buy these kind of products, although I have to admit that since I moved to Germany I have discovered a lot of organic brands.

Therefore, and after trying different products of those brands, I am going to share with you which are my favourite ones (do not hesitate to tell me yours)

  1. Weleda – I love their face care and hand creams.
  2. Dr. Hauschka – I cannot choose just a single product… My favourites are the rose day cream, the soothing cleansing cream and the lavender sandalwood calming bodycream.
  3. Neobio – Trying their shower gels and shampoos should be a must 😉

If you guys decide to try any other skincare product or another organic grocery store please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. I am always trying new things, I cannot avoid it…

I hope you enjoyed this post 🙂 Do not hesitate to leave your comments below 🙂

 

 

 

Art in Düsseldorf: Tomas Saraceno In Orbit

Hey guys! How are you? Long time no see. It is more than one month since I posted something new.

Last month was a busy time for me but I am back and ready to tell you more about our expat adventures here in Düsseldorf.

A couple of weekends ago I had a really special visit. Some old friends came here to celebrate the bachelorette of one of them. I was so excited!! We wanted to prepare a perfect weekend for her and, at the same time, I wanted them to discover this incredible part of Germany.

Therefore I organized a beer taste evening at the Beer Craft Festival in Düsseldorf, a tour around Cologne (the sun shined the whole day :)) and another beer taste afternoon, but this time in Düsseldorf.

However, I was not satisfied enough. I wanted to offer my friends the possibility to enjoy something different, something unique. But what could I do?

Suddenly I realized about something; there is still one thing you can do in Düsseldorf that you can´t do at any other place (and it is not beer related 😉 ).

To carry out my plan I convinced my friends to spend some time in a museum. Although that weather was perfect, I mean, we had more than 20 degrees and a splendid sun shinning above us, they accepted to make some indoor activity.

The exhibition

The museum chosen to experience something unique was the impressive, well known K21 Museum.

One of the main exhibitions of this awesome museum is called In Orbit, an enormous installation suspended at a high of more than 25 meters, created by the argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno.

The physically accessible work is constructed of steel mesh that interlaces three levels. Five air filled spheres are located within the net structure.

Visitors are welcomed to enter the installation, during 10 minutes, and explore it by climbing it from the inside. Those brave enough to venture into this unique piece of art will experience a mix of feelings up there.

If you suffer from vertigo I would sadly not recommend you to enjoy this “floating in the sky” adventure, unless you feel brave enough to walk 25 meters above the floor.

Inside the installation

As previously mentioned, the installation is a construction of steel mesh that interlaces three levels. To access this art work you will be provided with a special suit to prevent personal things falling down to the museum visitors down below. Furthermore, the museum staff will also provide you with a special pair of shoes so that you can walk safety inside the net.

The entrance to the structure is located at the third level in order that the visitor can decide the path he wants to follow during his visit.

Usually I like to start at the third level to come down calmly until the first one. Personally, I think this is the best way to avoid the initial shock of being 25 meters high protected only by some steel cables.

I must admit that, although I have already visited this exhibition more than 3 times, I am still impressed by the height once I reach the first level of the net.

Price, opening hours & more

The museum opening hours are the following:

  • Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 am until 18.00 pm
  • Saturday, Sunday & holiday from 11.00 am until 18.00 pm

The admission price is 12,00€ (9,00€ for children)

Here you can find more information about the museum.

I hope you are brave enough to enjoy this unique experience! 🙂

 

How to find a flat and not die trying

looking for a flat in germany

Looking for a flat

Wether if you are looking for a flat or for a shared-flat (WG), you will have to work hard to get one. It can be complicated depending on where do you wanna live and, sadly, Düsseldorf and Köln are one of those “complicated” places to find a future flat. However, I am going to give you some helpful advices.

First  of all, you should know that, here in Germany, flat interviews are really important. So just prepare your best smile (and lot of information about yourself) and go for it! By the way, in this country is really common to rent unfurnished flats (also in the WG rooms). These are the possibilities you will find when looking for an apartment:

1. Unfurnished apartment (the most common thing) – Unmöblierte Wohnung

2.Apartment + kitchen: You will have to buy it to the old renter or you will “buy it” while paying the rent, the price of the kitchen will be included in the rent.

3. Furnished flat: Good luck!! Usually you will have to buy the furniture to the old renter or to the   landlord – Möblierte Wohnung

WG: Shared-flat

If you are looking for a shared-flat (WG) where you can meet new people I highly recommend this website: http://www.wg-gesucht.de/.

Here you can find all the information related to your future room, including photos, information about which kind of person your future roomies are looking for and the price of the rent.

I recommend you to contact as much WGs as possible. Check first that your hobbies, age, way of life… fit with the requirements of the ad. The more emails you send the more options to get an answer. If you are not good enough speaking german, do not panic! You can always contact people in english, most of them answer.

looking for a flat in Germany

Rent a flat
Here it comes the difficult part. There are lots of websites, however, the most used is the following one: http://www.immobilienscout24.de/.

To find a flat you have to work hard. The demand  is really high in Düsseldorf and Köln, also the prices are increasing rapidly. I recommend you to contact the real state agency by telephone (if possible), because once they have a considerable amount of candidates requests they do not answer more emails.

This time the interview  depends on which kind of meeting you have. Sometimes people organize visits which last 15 minutes, other times it can last more than one hour. It depends on how much information you want to obtain about the owner and the flat.

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The landlord

In Germany there are different kind of landlords:

  • Private landlords
  • Real states

Sometimes the owners of the flats are quite flexible and they allow the renter to accomplish the pre-selection. The other option is that the real states take care of the pre-selection process. In the last case, it is possible that the real state agency carry out an open door day, where they invite 10-20 people to visit the flat at the same time.

If you pass the pre-selection process (congrats!!) it is time for the final process. Now the landlord will decide who will be the next renter basing his decision on thousand of documents which will be required from you.

The documents

All the landlords (also for the WG) will ask you about your net income (in many cases they also will ask you for a copy of your work contract). Other documents they will ask you for:

  • SCHUFA
  • Auskunft: Documents with personal information like income, family status, bank account…

looking for a flat in germany

SCHUFA

I know this concept does not exist in countries like France or Spain. The SCHUFA is an official default document. If you are living in Germany since less than 3 years ago you have to ask if you have a SCHUFA or not, it depends on the person. Here you can find more information about it: https://www.schufa.de/de/.

Social Networks

Social Networks are a helpful tool. There are expats groups where people tend to post lot of information. Take a look! It is usual that people post when they leave their flats. Contacting them is a fast way to get a flat visit without waiting for the real state.

Be patient and keep looking!  In the meanwhile I wish you good luck!

German beers

If I ask you: What would you drink if you were in Germany? You will probably answer…

Beer!!

However, there are different kind of beers depending on the German region where you are. Do you already know which beer belongs to each region?

Following you can find 7 german beers I would like to recommend you. Could you guess about which regions and beers I am talking? Check if you know a lot about beer. Keep reading until the end!! Let´s begin! 

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1. Our first beer takes its name from its place of origin. This beer contains only a 3% of alcohol and it is usually mixed with woodruff syrup (Waldmeister) or raspberry syrup (Himbeere), which provide it with a green colour, in the first case, and a red colour, in the second case.

 

2. This time it can be more difficult to guess about what beer and region I am talking, however, let´s try it! 🙂

This beer tastes and looks similar to the weath beer, however, it has a peculiarity: The beer from this region is elaborated half with barley malt and half with weath malt. Formerly, the water of the river was used to elaborate this beer. That is the reason why, the beer takes its name from this river.

 

3. This universally recognized beer has a 4% of alcohol and its taste and look reminds us to Pilsner beer. It is composed of malt, hop, and mineral water. Hint: Its logo includes a key with a red-coloured background. 😉

 

4. Our next beer dates from 1390 (in the Middle Ages) and it obtains its characteristic colour due to the low fermentation of the malt during the brewing process.

 

5 – 6. This two beers are rivals (as well as the cities where they come from). The first one is elaborated with high fermentation yeast and dark malt. The second one is a blonde beer with a 5% alcohol and a certificate of origin. Both of them are usually served in small glasses (20 – 30cl). Tip: Both of them love Carnival 😉

 

7.  Finally we are going to talk about the most important beer during the Oktoberfest. With a 5% of alcohol this weath beer is mostly consumed in the region where it comes from, and it is served in one-liter glasses. Its almost transparent colour is due to the weath malt.

 

Was it easy to guess which beers and regions are we talking about? If so, maybe you are germanizing ;). If you still want to know if your thoughts were the right ones just scroll down and check the map 😉

 

  1. Berliner Weisse -Berlin    
  2. Gose – Lower Saxony
  3. Beck´s – Bremen
  4. Köstritzer (Schwarzbier) – Thuringia    
  5. Altbier – Düsseldorf
  6. Kölsch – Köln
  7. Weissbier – Bavaria

7 signs you are becoming German

Are you getting used to the German way of life? Are you including potatoes and sausages in your diet? Do you also think that the christmas markets are the place to be during winter time? If you answered yes to all these questions it is a sign of your “germanization”. Are you becoming German? Here you can find definitive 7 signs you are becoming German

1. When you
move you bring your old furniture to your new flat

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In Germany it is quite usual to do not leave a single nail in your old apartment when you move to a new one. Germans
take all their furniture when they move: the kitchen, the freezer, the wash
machine… also the bulbs!

If the furniture does not fit in the new apartment they leave it in the street, so that other people can re-use it. Recycling the old-fashioned way! 🙂

2. When you
see a ray of light sun and you run outside your flat

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It does not matter if it is winter or summer. Germans are crazy about the sun. If there is
a sunny day they will be on the street enjoying it. Everytime the sun shine the
streets are crowded of people having a walk or drinking a coffee in the terraces.
No one will stay at home during a sunny day.

3. When you split the bill

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Zusammen oder getrennt? That is the question. If you come from the south of Europe there
is a high probability that your answer “zusammen (together)”. In some countries
it is common to invite friends for a coffee or to pay a meal.

However, a good german would have answered “getrennt (separate)”. In Germany they split everything, also the coffee bill! So, if you want to invite a friend do not be
surprised if he looks weird at you.

4. When you
remove your shoes in the entrance of your flat

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It is a non-written rule. When you enter in a flat you have to remove your shoes, to
leave them at the entrance and to walk barefoot.

The main goal of this non-written rule is to avoid scattering the snow and the water of the rain around the whole flat. It is a good idea, taking into account that the average of rainy days in Germany is around 128 days per year.

Do not forget it when you visit a german friend!

5. When you like to spend a day at IKEA

Spending the day at IKEA is a german common hobby. No matter which day of the week, if
you go to IKEA it will be totally crowded. We do not know the reason why
germans love to spend their time there, but it is quite normal for them.

Did you know one of the biggest IKEA of the world is located in Germany?? Concretely in
Düsseldorf.

http://www.rp-online.de/nrw/staedte/duesseldorf/duesseldorfer-ikea-ist-jetzt-der-groesste-der-welt-aid-1.1144216

6. When you cannot wait to get off the public transport

Germans tend to be ready to get off the public transport before it stops. Usually they
start to queue up at the previous stop. In the subway they queue up during 2
minutes, however, it can take longer when you travel by train.

It looks like if they were always on a hurry! Can it be due to the punctuality of the Deutsche Bahn? We would like to apologize before sharing the following with you: German public transports come hardly on time! Maybe that is the reason why germans are always in a hurry?

7. When your idea of a perfect summer plan is to organize a BBQ in a park

When summer comes organizing a BBQ in the park is THE PLAN. Nothing else can make germans
happier than a good BBQ, beers and friends.

In fact, it is easy to organize one. You just need to buy some beers, food and to find a place in some random park around the city or in front of the river. Sincerely, we do not why they
love BBQ so much, is it maybe not because of the food itself but due to the weather (as we said before)?

We are almost “germanized” 🙂 After some years living here we like their way of life. An what about you, are you becoming German?

On est a Paris!

Because every time I go there I say “I´ll be back”…

… and I´m always back.

ParisParis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because I love having a walk among its streets, I enjoy visiting the Champs Élysées, walking around the Champ de Mars, eating Pain au Chocolat, drinking Rosé, having a walk in Rue Rivoli, having a snack in a terrace, remembering goods moments in Pigalle, eating Crêpes…

Paris

 

But most of all, because I love visiting the most beautiful building of Paris: Le Tour Eiffel.

And this time, because I am glad to say that I had time to visit some really cool people. We expats love to meet in different cities around the world.

 

 

And, as I am sure I will be back…

A bientôt Paris!!!

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