• Bilateral social security agreement with Germany

    If you send an Australian employee to work temporarily in Germany, you must continue to pay superannuation guarantee contributions in Australia for them.

    Before you send the employee, apply to us for a certificate of coverage:

    When applying for a certificate of coverage you need to indicate which article of the agreement applies to the employment situation.

    We'll issue a certificate to you on the basis that you'll continue to make super guarantee contributions in Australia for the employee. You or your employee then show the certificate to the German authorities to be exempted from super payments in Germany.

    When completing the request for a certificate of coverage, you'll need to provide an Australian contact name and their phone, fax and e-mail details.

    When you receive the certificate, keep a copy for your records and give the original to your employee to take with them to Germany.

    On this page:

    About the agreement

    Our bilateral social security agreement with Germany applies when double super coverage occurs – that is, when you or your employee would otherwise have to make super guarantee contributions (or equivalent) in both countries for the same work by your employee. It applies to Australian super guarantee law and German social security laws.

    For information about:

    The agreement is a supplementary agreement to the social security agreement between Australia and Germany. The supplementary agreement started on 1 October 2008.

    Effect for different types of employee

    Employees working temporarily overseas

    If you send your employee to work in Germany for a temporary period – for your business or a related entity – and double super coverage occurs, only the super laws of your home country will apply. This means super guarantee contributions (or equivalent) are required only under the law of the country that your employee is most likely to retire in.

    The German agreement operates a little differently to most of the agreements Australia has with other countries. When making an application for a certificate of coverage for your employee being sent to Germany, as an Australian employer you must indicate the relevant article of the agreement that applies to the employment situation.

    Generally, Article 5 applies where the:

    • employee remains employed by the same employer
    • period of detachment is up to four years
    • employee is ordinarily a resident of Australia.

    Example: Detachment cases (Article 5)

    Franz-Peter is sent by his Australian employer, XYZ Bank Limited, to work in Germany for two years. While in Germany, Franz-Peter will remain directly employed by XYZ Bank Limited. Franz-Peter's employer must still make contributions in Australia under super guarantee legislation. Franz-Peter and his employer must also make contributions under relevant German law.

    As double super coverage occurs and Franz-Peter remains in the direct employment of his Australian employer, Article 5 of the supplementary agreement will take effect and exempt Franz-Peter and his employer from making contributions under German law. XYZ Bank Limited will continue to make contributions as required under super guarantee legislation in Australia.

    When applying for a certificate of coverage, XYZ Bank Limited should indicate that Article 5 of the supplementary agreement is applicable to Franz-Peter's circumstances.

    End of example

    Generally, Article 8 applies where the:

    • employee is employed temporarily by an associated employer
    • period of secondment is up to five years
    • application for a certificate of coverage is made within six months of starting employment in Germany.

    Example: Secondment cases (Article 8)

    Kristina is sent by her Australian employer, JKL Pharmaceuticals Limited, to work in Germany for two years. While in Germany, Kristina is employed by JKL Medical Research AG, which is a subsidiary of JKL Pharmaceuticals Limited. Kristina's employer must still make contributions in Australia under super guarantee legislation. Kristina and her employer must also make contributions under German law.

    As double super coverage occurs and Kristina is employed by an associated employer while in Germany, Article 8 of the supplementary agreement will take effect and exempt Kristina and her employer from making contributions under German law. JKL Pharmaceuticals Limited will continue to make contributions as required under super guarantee legislation in Australia.

    When applying for a certificate of coverage, JKL Pharmaceuticals Limited should indicate that Article 8 of the supplementary agreement is applicable to Kristina's circumstances.

    End of example

    For information about:

    Self-employed people

    The agreement doesn't apply to self-employed Australian residents working in Germany. They're not subject to super guarantee law in Australia, so double super coverage doesn't occur.

    Work on board seagoing vessels

    The agreement doesn't affect the application of the laws of Australia or Germany for any employees working on board a seagoing vessel.

    Diplomats

    The agreement doesn't affect the treatment of diplomats and consulate officials under the relevant Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations.

    Extension beyond four or five years

    Generally, a certificate of coverage will cover Australian employees for up to four or five years of employment in Germany. If you need coverage for longer than this, you'll need to write to us explaining the reasons for the extension.

    Approval to extend a certificate of coverage is determined on a case-by-case basis. We can grant an extension only with the mutual agreement of the relevant agency in Germany, and only in certain circumstances.

    An extension may be granted when:

    • an individual who was scheduled to replace the worker is unable to do so because of death, serious illness or resignation
    • the worker must remain in the country of secondment due to an unexpected personal situation – this includes medical reasons (self, spouse, children) or if the worker's children are required to stay to complete the school year
    • the worker has been under one country's social security system throughout his or her career and is planning to retire in the immediate future
    • the extension is for a short period
    • the worker returned to the country of origin for a short period during the period of secondment for unexpected personal reasons – this includes medical reasons (self, spouse, children)
    • the extension for work purposes would be in the national interest of either country
    • cessation will cause undue hardship to the employer or employee
    • there has been a reorganisation of a company and the worker maintains an important role in the reorganisation
    • the worker has special skills or background and the employer makes a strong case for needing the worker to complete a special assignment or project that will be concluded within one to three years after the four- or five- year secondment period.

    An extension may also be granted in other special circumstances.

    Your request for an extension must be in writing and should include the:

    • employer's name, ABN and contact details
    • employee's name
    • certificate number
    • reason for extension.

    Send your request to:

    Superannuation – Bilateral agreements
    Australian Taxation Office
    GPO Box 9977
    ADELAIDE SA 5001
    AUSTRALIA

    See also:

      Last modified: 27 Jul 2016QC 21272