What are the advantages and disadvantages of subcontracted work?

It is usually easier to find a job at a temporary employment agency. Subcontracted labour can, therefore, function as an opportunity for entering the German job market. Subcontracted labour often means working in several different companies, so you can also gain a lot of experience and make professional contacts. Sometimes, a temporary worker is eventually hired as a regular employee by the company he has been sent to as a subcontracted worker. However, this only works when your employment contract with the temporary employment agency has expired or terminated.

Subcontracted labour also entails some disadvantages: The company which "borrows" you, rather than paying you directly, pays the temporary employment agency for your labour. To stay profitable, the temporary employment agencies usually pay the workers less than what they could earn as a regular employee. Furthermore, employment in different companies often means frequent changes in your working environment. So you have to adapt to new jobs, colleagues, and workplaces all the time. In some cases, this also means you have to anticipate long commutes to work.

What are my rights as a subcontracted worker?

The rights of temporary workers are regulated by the laws governing the lease of employees (“Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz” or AÜG). Many temporary employment agencies are also bound by sectoral collective agreements. Sectoral collective agreements are the agreements signed between companies and unions for regulation of working conditions in a particular industry.

How do I receive my wages?

How can I Find a Temporary Employment Agency?

Temporary employment agencies are often looking for new employees- and they use regular job search engines for recruiting. You can read more on this in our chapter "Job search and application." You can also check https://info-zeitarbeit.de/zeitarbeitsfirmen-in-deutschland and http://www.zeitarbeit-job-netzwerk.de/ to find a temporary employment agency in your state or city.

Where can I complain?

If you face a problem in the workplace, you can contact the Workers' Council ("Betriebsrat") of the company at which you are assigned to work. The Workers' Council represents the interests of the employees in the company. One of the council's tasks is to ensure that laws and sectoral collective agreements are respected. If you face any difficulties regarding your salary or other contractually agreed issues, then the Workers' Council at the temporary employment agency is where you should contact. In case your temporary employment agency does not have a Workers' Council, you can take those problems to the Workers' Council at the company where you are assigned to work. You can usually find the working hours of the Workers' Council in the break room or on the office's message board.

You can also reach out to the Contact and Conciliation Office for Temporary Workers for support. They are available at 030-25762847 and per email (kontakt@kuss-zeitarbeit.de).

If you are discriminated against -in the temporary employment agency or a company where you have been assigned to work- due to your family background, nationality, sexual orientation, gender or age, you can contact the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency. The staff are available on Mondays (13:00 to 15:00), Wednesdays and Fridays (9:00 to 12:00) at 030-18555 1855. You can also contact them via email at beratung@ads.bund.de. The staff speak German, English and Arabic.

Please note: You can seek help from all of these agencies anonymously if you prefer so. That means your boss will not know about your complaint unless you want him to.