Extras FAQ

What is adag Payroll Services GmbH?

adag Payroll Services GmbH specializes in non-agency payroll services throughout Germany for extras and bit players.

We do not act as a staffing agency and cannot negotiate wages or additional fees. We provide payroll services exclusively for film, TV and advertising productions.

We use the information you provide in your employment contract as a basis for processing your payments. We check for compliance with the German law on minimum wage requirements (Minimum Wage Law – MiLoG). However, we are not able to comment on any payment agreements between you and your agency or production company because we play no part in payment negotiations. We only agree to process your payments. Your agent or employer is responsible for any questions regarding payment amounts, schedules, etc.

What is included in our payroll services?

Payroll services comprise, among other things:

  • Collection and verification of your data,
  • Checking and documentation of compliance with minimum wage requirements,
  • Processing of cashless payments,
  • Issuing reports required by law for administrative bodies and authorities, such as tax and social security registration,
  • Preparation of payslips, income tax statements, social security registration certificates, statements of additional income, income statements and employment certificates
  • Processing of remuneration statements for the German Pension Insurance.
Does the Minimum Wage Law apply to my job?

According to the German law on minimum wage requirements (Minimum Wage Law – MiLoG), a comprehensive, general statutory minimum wage for employees and most interns shall apply as of 1 January 2015. As of January 2017, the legal minimum wage requirement is 8.84 euros (gross) per hour. This also applies to your job.

What is short-term employment?

Short-term employment is any temporary employment contract that is limited to a maximum of three months or 70 working days over the course of one calendar year.

Income from short-term employment is exempt from social security payments.

A period of employment is no longer classed as short-term if this time frame is exceeded or if the employment is carried out on a professional basis.

Employment carried out on a professional basis is any employment that constitutes the employee’s main source of income. This applies in particular to people whose social security status falls under one of the following categories:

  • Recipients of unemployment benefits in accordance with the SGB [German social security statute book] II or III,
  • Persons registered as seeking employment with the German Federal Labor Office,
  • Employees on parental leave,
  • Employees on unpaid leave,
  • Persons seeking training or apprenticeship positions,
  • School leavers,
  • Unpaid interns,
  • Self-employed persons or freelance professionals receiving benefits,
  • Mini-jobbers with no main occupation,
  • Persons who receive additional benefits under SGB II or SGB III or have received these benefits for more than 70 days over the course of the current calendar year,
  • Doctoral students, students as of the 26th semester, students taking a semester of leave, distance learning students (with the exception of distance learning students at the University of Hagen), student teachers on law internships.
What happens if I am not eligible to be paid as a short-term employee?

If you are unable to claim short-term employment status due to your social security status, you have already been employed on a short-term basis for three months or 70 days over the course of the current calendar year or you are receiving benefits, you are liable to pay social security contributions. In this case you will be required to pay both income tax and social security contributions.

When am I liable to pay social security contributions?

If you are unable to claim short-term employment status due to your social security status, you have already been employed on a short-term basis for three months or 70 days over the course of the current calendar year or you are receiving benefits, you are liable to pay social security contributions. In this case you will be required to pay both income tax and social security contributions.

This applies in particular to people whose social security status falls under one of the following categories:

  • Recipients of unemployment benefits in accordance with the SGB [German social security statute book] II or III,
  • Persons registered as seeking employment with the German Federal Labor Office,
  • Employees on parental leave,
  • Employees on unpaid leave,
  • Persons seeking training or apprenticeship positions,
  • School leavers,
  • Unpaid interns,
  • Self-employed persons or freelance professionals receiving benefits,
  • Mini-jobbers with no main occupation,
  • Persons who receive additional benefits under SGB II or SGB III or have received these benefits for more than 70 days over the course of the current calendar year,
  • Doctoral students, students as of the 26th semester, students taking a semester of leave, distance learning students (with the exception of distance learning students at the University of Hagen), student teachers on law internships.
Why do I have to submit proof of my status?

Your social security status an essential factor in deciding whether you are exempt from social security contributions as a result of short-term employment status or whether you are liable to pay social security contributions.

In order for us to carry out payroll services for you as a short-term employee, we have to carefully check your social security status, as you will be liable to make additional payments if any information submitted is incorrect. Within the scope of regular audits carried out by the German Pension Insurance, we need to be able to prove the social security status of each individual on our system. If we do not have proof of status, you will automatically be required to pay social security contributions.

What proof of status do I need to submit for my payment to be processed?

If your status is one of the following and you have answered ‘no’ to questions A, B, C and D in the employment contract, you will be classed as in short-term employment for social security purposes and must submit any necessary proof of status as indicated below:

  • Children: No proof of status required
  • Students aged 15 and under: No proof of status required
  • Students aged 16 and over: Valid student ID; students over the age of 25 must also provide a certificate of voluntary/private health insurance*
    Note: This status can only be claimed by students in the general school system. Schools in the general school system in Germany include primary schools, secondary schools, comprehensive schools, grammar schools or equivalent schools that lead to the same state-recognized school-leaving qualifications. This does not include evening schools and adult education centers. If, for example, you are currently undertaking a year of vocational preparatory training or attending a basic vocational school, you are not classed in the general school system, even if you subsequently obtain a school-leaving qualification.
  • University applicants: Confirmation from the university; students over the age of 25 must also provide a certificate of voluntary/private health insurance*
    Note: This status can only be claimed by students who are able to prove that they have obtained a school-leaving qualification and are currently applying to an institute of higher education.
  • Students: Enrolment certificate stating current semester; students over the age of 30 must also provide a certificate of voluntary/private health insurance*
    Note: This status can only be claimed by students who are enrolled on a course at an institute of higher education. Doctoral students who are enrolled on a doctoral program are not classed as students. The same applies to academic assistants who have already completed a program of study. Furthermore, exemption from social security payments no longer applies after the 26th semester, for students taking a semester of leave or for distance learning students (with the exception of distance learning students at the University of Hagen). Student teachers on law internships are also liable to pay social security contributions, as law internships are not carried out during the course of studies. Exemption from social security contributions only applies if the law internship is carried out within the civil service.
  • Apprentices: No proof of status required but you must provide the name and address of your employer
  • Employees: No proof of status required but you must provide the name and address of your employer
    Note: This status can only be claimed by persons in employment that are liable to pay social security contributions. Mini-jobs with an income of 450 euros or less per month are exempt from social security contributions.
  • Civil servants: Proof of employment or certificate of private health insurance*
  • Pensioners: Proof of pension or certificate of private health insurance*
  • Retirees: Proof of retirement; no proof of status required after the age of 65
  • Homemakers: No proof of status required
    Note: This status can only be claimed by persons who are married and whose spouse covers the cost of living through their own income without claiming unemployment benefits (ALG1/ALG2) or basic income support. The same applies to divorcees who receive maintenance from their former spouse.
  • Self-employed: Trade license and certificate of voluntary/private health insurance*
    Note: This status can only be claimed by persons who have registered their business and are insured by a statutory or private health insurer on a voluntary basis. If your health insurance contributions are paid in part by the German Federal Employment Agency or another authority, you are not considered to be self-employed for social security purposes and are not exempt from social security contributions.
  • Freelance professionals: Written confirmation from the tax office of your tax number and certification of voluntary/private health insurance* or Artist’s Social Security Fund (KSK).
    Note: This status can only be claimed by persons who are registered with the tax office as a freelance professional and are either insured with the Artist’s Social Security Fund (KSK) on a compulsory basis or insured by a statutory or private health insurer on a voluntary basis. If your health insurance contributions are paid in part by the German Federal Employment Agency or another authority, you are not considered to be a freelance professional for social security purposes and are not exempt from social security payments through our service.
  • Other status/mini-jobbers: Accounting methods and proof of status required for persons who do not fall under the above categories will be considered on an individual basis.

* If you are covered by statutory health insurance, your insurance certificate must clearly indicate that you are insured on a voluntary basis and that your health insurance contributions are not paid by third parties.     Copies of health insurance cards are therefore not sufficient as evidence.

The same applies if you are covered by private health insurance. Please submit a membership certificate, an insurance policy certificate, confirmation of insurance cover, a premium invoice, a statement of changes to your policy or another document of this sort.

Proof is also required for members of the Post Office Insurance Fund and Freien Heilfürsorge [public welfare insurance scheme].

All documentation must be from the current year.

If your security social status is one of the following or you have answered ‘yes’ to questions A, B, C and D in the employment contract, you will be required to pay social security contributions through our service:

  • School leavers
  • Unemployed persons
  • Employees on parental leave
  • Employees on unpaid leave
What additional documentation do I need as a non-EU citizen?

Non-EU citizens require a valid residence and work permit to work in Germany. These documents must be presented at your workplace and copies must be submitted. If adag Payroll Services GmbH does not have a copy of these documents, we cannot process your payments. More information can be found here: Immigration authorities.

Where can I find my social security number?

We need your social security number in order to register you with the relevant health insurance company or the Federal Miner’s Insurance Institution. You can find your social security number on your social security card. If you can’t find your social security card you can also request the number from your health insurance provider or from the German Pension Insurance. You can also apply for a new social security card here if you have lost it.

If you have never been employed, (even in minor employment), you will be assigned a social security number when you register with us. The relevant pension insurance scheme will provide notice of this. Please note that in this case, we will not be automatically notified of this. It is therefore important that you inform us of your social security number once you receive it.

Where can I find my tax identification number?

We need your tax identification number (IdNr) to retrieve your ELStAM [electronic income tax documentation]. The tax office will have sent you your tax identification number and informed you about your ELStAM in an information letter in 2011. You can usually find your tax identification number in your income tax assessment or income tax return.

If you are unable to find your tax identification number in your documentation, you can also request it from the Federal Central Tax Office You can also find more information on your tax identification number if, for example, you have no permanent residence in Germany.

What is ELStAM?

ELStAM is a form of electronic income tax documentation that has replaced the former Lohnsteuerkarte [income tax card]. The information contained in the income tax documentation includes your tax bracket, child allowance, church tax deductions, and tax allowance.

This information is stored by the tax office and can be retrieved electronically by employers. In order to do this, your employer must register your with your date of birth, and tax identification number, after which they will receive a response with your ELStAM data.

Your current ELStAM data will be displayed on all your payslips. However, you also have the option to consult you ELStAM data online at any time via the ElsterOnline-Portal. More information can be found here: ELSTER.

What deductions will come out of my wages?

The earnings stated on your employment contract are gross your gross wages.

If you are in short-term employment, only income tax, solidarity tax, and where applicable, church tax will be deducted from your earnings by the tax office. Income tax and church tax are calculated on the basis of your PAYE tax deduction criteria. These can be retrieved from the tax office using your tax identification number using the ELStAM process.

If you are liable to pay social security contributions, deductions will also be made for employee contributions, for health, nursing unemployment and pension insurance.

You will receive an income tax statement in addition to your payslip for your income tax return. Depending on your annual income, you can claim up to the full amount you are taxed back.

The payment amount corresponds to the net amount shown on your payslip.

Why am I paying class 6 taxes?

If you are receiving an income (e.g. salary, wage, company or private pension) that is calculated on the basis of your PAYE tax deduction criteria, your tax class has already been determined. A tax class can only be used by one employer at a time for payroll services, therefore you will not be eligible to receive payroll services from us.

In this case, you will be liable to pay class 6 taxes through our payroll system. This applies to employees, civil servants, pensioners and pensioners receiving a state pension, among others.

If we were to calculate your taxes based on your PAYE tax deduction criteria rather than processing your payments according to class 6 taxes, any previously earned income (e.g. salary, wages, company or private pension) would be subject to class 6 taxes on your next invoice. Given that this is usually your main income, this would be disadvantageous for you. For this reason, your payment is processed according to class 6 taxes.

When will my wages be transferred?

We will transfer your wages quickly and promptly. If you have submitted all the necessary evidence for us to process your payment, your details in your employment contract are correct and complete and adag Payroll Services GmbH are not required to refer to your income tax documentation for the purposes of processing your payment, you should receive your payslip and payments as soon as we receive your employment contracts, normally one day after we receive your employment contracts.

If we need to consult your PAYE tax deduction criteria through ELStAM, whether or not we are able to process your payment depends on a response from ELStAM. In the best case scenario, we will receive a response from ELStAM one day after making a query. However, this is not always the case. A response from ELStAM can often take several days. The ELSTER servers are often particularly busy at the end of the month due to the high number of payroll enquiries and it can sometimes take over a week to receive a response.

Incomplete documentation, lack of proof of your social security status and/or incorrect information on your employment contract may cause a delay in processing your payment. It is crucial that all your documentation is complete and that your information is correct due to legal regulations.

If you submit missing documentation to us at a later date, it is not usually possible for us to pay you immediately as we need to consult your income tax documentation through ELStAM once we receive the outstanding documentation and wait for a response.

Prompt processing of payment is in our interest as well as your own. Please note that a delay in processing may have consequences for us.

What documentation will I receive as evidence for administrative bodies and authorities?
  • Income statements
    We will send you an income statement automatically if you have stated in your employment contract that you are unemployed or receiving unemployment benefits (ALG1/ALG2, basic income support) or are part of a community of need that claims benefits of this kind.
    As our payroll software issues these automatically, it is not necessary to send us an income statement by post for further processing.
  • Statement of additional income (ALG1)
    You can request an income statement from us at any time by contacting us directly: Contact.
    As our payroll software issues these automatically, it is not necessary to send us a statement of additional income by post for further processing.
  • Employment certificate (ALG1)
    You can request an employment certificate from us at any time by contacting us directly: Contact.
    As our payroll software issues these automatically, it is not necessary to send us an employment certificate by post for further processing.
  • Remuneration statements for the German Pension Insurance
    You can send us remuneration statements for the German Pension Insurance at any time by post. We will complete these and forward them to the German State Pension and/or back to you on request.
Why can't I issue invoices even though I have registered my business?

As an extra or bit player, you are bound by certain instructions. As such, you do not qualify as self-employed or as a freelance professional. Therefore you are not entitled to issue your own invoices.

A trade license does not in itself change the status of a professional activity from dependent employment to a self-employed activity.

What happens if I have provided false information about myself or my social security status?

In order to properly register and process you on our payroll system, it is crucial that we have the correct information about you. Any incorrect information about you or your social security status not only delays your payment, it often requires considerable effort to correct.

Because we work closely with agencies and authorities, any false information is usually picked up on very quickly and any ambiguities can be cleared up immediately. In certain cases, however, false information can carry consequences years later. If, for example, an audit reveals that you have concealed any benefits from us, your social security contributions will be recalculated by the German Pension Insurance and you will be required to pay any outstanding payments based on these calculations.

It is therefore both in your and our interest that you provide the correct information for processing your payments.

If you have accidentally or knowingly provided false information about yourself of your social security status on your employment contract, please Contact us immediately so that we can correct your data and if necessary, any corresponding reports in good time.

If you are unsure of anything when filling out your employment contract or require help, we would be more than happy to answer any questions you have: Contact.