Voice-over actors, narrators FAQ

What is adag Payroll Services GmbH?

adag Payroll Services GmbH specializes in non-agency payroll services throughout Germany for short-term and temporary employees.

We do not act as a staffing agency and cannot negotiate wages or additional fees. We provide payroll services exclusively for dubbing companies.

We use the information you provide in your master data sheet 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 employer because we play no part in payment negotiations. We only agree to process your payments. Your 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.

AS A DUBBING ACTOR/SPEAKER, ON WHAT BASIS CAN REMUNERATION BE CALCULATED?

Since a ruling by the Federal Social Court of Germany (Bundessozialgericht, BSG) on 31/03/17, full-time dubbing actors are generally classified as temporary employees (Category 118). If they work mainly in other fields, their work as dubbing actors is invoiced as employee activities that are subject to social security contributions (Category 101) (more information).

Although the ruling of the BSG relates to work as a dubbing actor, social security law does not differentiate on the basis of job titles or product types, but rather solely on the basis of the activities involved. Accordingly, the ruling can be applied to speaking activities in general.

However, tax is still paid by the employee. Therefore, when remuneration is calculated, only the social security contributions are deducted from the fees, and not the income tax. The VAT is shown on the pay slip.

WHAT IS TEMPORARY WORK?

If you work for various employers for short periods (no more than one week), and if these activities are your main source of income, you are considered a temporary worker and are liable for social insurance contributions as such.

In this case, the employer pays the employer and employee health, long-term care and pension insurance contributions. During periods between assignments, when you are not employed, you will continue to be insured as a temporary worker for up to 3 weeks and can avail yourself of insurance benefits.

As a temporary worker, you are not liable for unemployment insurance contributions and therefore do not need to pay them. However, you are also not entitled to unemployment benefits (ALG1).

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.
When am I liable to pay social security contributions?

If you are not a non-continuous employee and 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 supporting documentation DO I NEED TO SUBMIT FOR PAYROLL ACCOUNTING?
  • If you are a parent, we need proof of this in writing (birth certificate or similar)
  • If you have private health insurance, you will need to provide proof of your policy that is as recent as possible (no older than one year at the time of your employment). You can submit the following documents, for example, to fulfil this requirement:
    – Certificate of membership
    – Insurance policy
    – Certificate of provident expenses
    – Premium adjustment

We will need proof in writing if you have voluntary/private insurance and one of the following applies to you:

  • The compulsory insurance threshold was exceeded during the previous year
  • You were mainly self-employed
  • 2002 protection over €52,200 (private health insurance)
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.

DO I HAVE TO PAY TAX ON MY REMUNERATION MYSELF?

Generally, employers who employ staff must deduct income tax from the remuneration and pay it to the tax office. However, this is not the case for those working as dubbing actors/speakers. Although these people are employed in terms of social insurance law, they are considered self-employed under tax law and must pay tax on their earnings.

It is important, therefore, that you provide your personal tax number (Section 8 of the German Accounting Regulations for Tax Offices/Buchungsordnung für die Finanzämter, BuchO) and the responsible tax office on the master data sheet so that we can include these in your accounting documentation.

You must also indicate the applicable VAT rate (7%, 19% or small business as per Section 19 German VAT Act/UStG)

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 BE MADE FROM MY REMUNERATION?

The payment indicated on the master data sheet is gross pay, from which social contributions will then be deducted, depending on your status.

The regular contribution class code with regard to accounting procedures for temporary workers (those whose main occupation is speaker – Category 118) is 3101 and includes health, pension and long-term care insurance contributions.

Provided that you have exceeded the annual earnings limit in the previous year, you may be released from your health and long-term care insurance obligations. Furthermore, this also applies if the health insurance fund has confirmed that you are mainly self-employed, if you have been released from your insurance obligations by the health insurance body, or if you have private insurance.

If your main occupation is not working as a speaker, you will be included in Category 101 (employees liable for social insurance). In this case, contributions are payable in all areas of social insurance (contribution class code 3111), but there is also the option to be released from your health and long-term care insurance obligations for the reasons outlined above.

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 PAYMENT BE TRANSFERRED?

We will transfer your payment quickly and without delay. Once you have provided all the necessary supporting documentation for the calculation of your payment, and your details in the master data sheet are correct and complete, the calculation and transfer will generally be performed within 14 days of receipt of your master data sheet.

Incomplete documents, missing supporting documentation concerning your status under social insurance law and/or incorrect details on the master data sheet will delay the calculation of your remuneration and its payment. Legal regulations mean we must insist that all supporting documentation is complete and that the details you have provided are correct.

Calculating and paying your remuneration as quickly as possible is not only in your interests, but also in ours. Please do not believe that delaying payment of your fee would be in any way beneficial to us. The opposite is true.

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 master data sheet 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.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IF I PROVIDE FALSE INFORMATION ABOUT MYSELF, OR MY STATUS UNDER SOCIAL INSURANCE LAW?

We depend on the accuracy of the details you provide to be able to perform all accounting and registration pertaining to you. Incorrect information about yourself or your status under social insurance law will not only delay payment, but will also often lead to considerable additional work for you and for us.

Accurate accounting is not only in our interests, but also in yours.

If you have accidentally entered incorrect information on the master data sheet about yourself or your status under social insurance law, please contact us immediately so that we can correct your data and amend any necessary notifications in good time.

If you are unsure of what to do when filling out the master data sheet and need help, we will be pleased to assist you: Contact.