The German Social Security System

The German Social Security System

Components of Social Security Insurance

In contrast to some other industrialized countries, the core social security in Germany is financed collectively by means of a process of redistribution. The current costs (for pensioners, sick people or those in need of nursing care, and unemployed people) are paid directly from contributions by employees and employers.

Social security contributions are made up of:

  • Health insurance
  • Nursing care insurance
  • Pension insurance
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Accident insurance

Generally speaking, social security contributions are roughly shared equally by employer and employee. Only the costs for accident insurance are exclusively borne by the employer. In total, the employer's share of social insurance contributions amounts to approximately 21 percent of the employees gross wage.

Social Security Contributions in Germany

Social Security Insurance Components1

(in % of gross wage)

Employer/Employee Share

(in % of gross wage)

18.6% pension insurance9.3% employer
9.3% employee
14.6% health insurance27.3% employer2
7.3% employee2
2.5% unemployment insurance1.25% employer
1.25% employee
3.05% nursing care insurance1.525% employer
1.525% employee3
1.16% accident insurance1.16% employer4

1) plus minor allocations
2) plus additional contribution which each health insurance company individually may impose on employer and employee (equal shares). The average additional contribution for 2019 defined by the Federal Ministry of Health is 0.9%.
3) childless employees aged above 23 years pay an extra 0.25% nursing care insurance. Specific regulations apply in the federal state of Saxony.
4) average accident insurance contribution 2017 according to the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV)


Christina Schön Christina Schön | © GTAI/ Illing & Vossbeck Fotografie

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Christina Schön

Udo Sellhast Udo Sellhast | © GTAI

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Udo Sellhast