How much are interns paid

Internship salary

If you just want to earn a little extra money in addition to school or studies, it is best to look for a part-time job. However, if you want to gain important practical experience with a view to your professional career, you should complete an internship. Always looks good on your résumé!

What one often hears, however, is that interns receive money for their work no remuneration or only a small allowance. The actual wage is the experience gained and the insight into everyday working life. But is that enough?

So that you can plan better, you should find out in advance of your internship when you will be entitled to payment.

the essentials in brief

  • There is no general right to an internship salary.
  • Whether you get paid depends primarily on whether you are doing a voluntary internship or a compulsory internship.
  • As an intern, you may be entitled to the minimum wage (9.50 euros per month).
  • Money is not the most important thing - an unpaid internship can also be worthwhile.

Is there a right to an internship salary?

Unfortunately, there is no general entitlement to remuneration for interns in Germany. Whether an employer has to pay their interns a salary depends on various factors.

When it comes to the question "Internship salary, yes or no?", The main thing is whether the internship is a Compulsory internship acts. One of these is often stipulated in the study regulations. According to the Vocational Training Act (BBiG), companies are only exempt from paying their interns a wage in this and one other case: If the internship is an internship to provide guidance for vocational training or to start studying. A so-called Orientation internship.

However, one cannot say: orientation internship = no salary. In this case, the decisive role also plays Internship duration. The magical limit is here three months.

When do I get a salary during the internship?

As an intern, you have a legal right to payment from your employer if you ...

  • … a voluntary Study or training accompanying internship or do an orientation internship, the longer than three months lasts.

  • ... a voluntary one Internship not related to your professional training graduate. Example: You are studying computer science and doing an internship in a hospital out of pure interest.

  • your studies or your training at the start of the internship already completed has. In this case, your employer will have to pay you a salary even for an internship lasting less than three months.

When do I not get a salary during my internship?

Conversely, you have as an intern no legal claim for remuneration if you ...

  • complete a compulsory internshipthat your study, school or training regulations prescribe. The duration of the internship does not matter here.

  • … a voluntary internship with a maximum duration of three months do that to you for orientation for a course of study or an apprenticeship serves. Example: After graduating from high school, you are considering studying computer science and therefore doing an internship at a software company to get to know the work there.

  • … a voluntary internship with a maximum duration of three months complete your Accompanying your studies or your training. Example: During your computer science studies, you do an internship at a software company to gain experience.

Attention, exception!

Most internships are covered by these rules. However, an exception applies to interns who are not yet of legal age and have not yet received any professional training completed. Unfortunately you have no entitlement to an internship remuneration.

However, if you turn 18 during your internship, you also have the right to remuneration from this point in time!

Minimum wage: do interns also benefit from it?

But how much salary are you now entitled to in the worst-case scenario? If the conditions for an internship salary are met - that is, you are doing a voluntary internship that lasts longer than three months - your employer must tell you Minimum Wage Act (MiLoG) Pay the legally stipulated gross minimum wage. In Germany this is currently 9.50 euros (As of May 2021).

A small calculation example: With a typical working time of 40 hours per week and 20 working days per month, an intern will be awarded 1,520 euros gross transferred.

Minimum wage law

The Minimum Wage Act (MiLoG for short) has been in force since January 1, 2015. Since then, all employees in Germany have received a general, nationwide minimum wage. An employer is therefore not allowed to pay its employees less than this lower wage limit stipulates.

The minimum wage has been in effect since January 1, 2021 9.50 euros. It is to be increased gradually to 10.45 euros by July 1, 2022.

No or too little salary: Do I get BAföG during my internship?

You don't get any money for your internship or the salary is just not enough to make a living? Then you should check whether you are entitled to BAföG. The first question you have to ask yourself: Do I do a compulsory internship or a voluntary internship?

If you just want to gain practical experience before or after your studies and therefore do a voluntary internship, you will not receive BAföG. Sorry! You can only receive BAföG if the internship is part of your studies or during your studies.

What actually is BAföG?

BAföG is the abbreviation for Federal Training Assistance Act. The state support for schoolchildren and students is regulated by. Colloquially, the abbreviation BAföG is usually simply used to refer to the funding that results from the law - i.e. the amount that you receive monthly.

The requirements for BAföG entitlement are the same as for the course itself - the compulsory internship is also part of the course. If you do not know whether you are entitled to BAföG, you should first find out about it. A good place to go is the German Student Union - just google for “Studentenwerk BAföG”.

Do not forget!

Attention: Your employer must fill out a proof of suitability so that you are guaranteed to continue to receive your BAföG during your internship. This confirms that your internship meets the requirements of your university for the mandatory internship. It is best to find out more from your employer or your responsible BAföG office.

If you receive BAföG, this is Funding during your compulsory internship is just as high as in the "normal" period of study - It doesn't matter whether the internship takes place before or during your studies. The prerequisite for this, however, is that the internship is unpaid. However, this is usually the case with compulsory internships.

It is different if you do a voluntary internship or are paid for your compulsory internship.

Will I still get BAföG despite my internship salary?

The important things first: If you do a voluntary internship during your studies, you will continue to receive BAföG. In this case, it is only important that your studies remain your main occupation and not suffer from the internship. But even if you are paid for your voluntary or compulsory internship, the BAföG payments do not stop.

But be prepared for cuts if you get an internship salary!

Voluntary internships are treated in the same way as part-time jobs: Up to an annual income of 5,400 euros (= 12 x 450 euros), the so-called income exemption, you receive your full BAföG. The office doesn't care whether you earn 5,400 euros in one day or over the whole year. However, if you earn more within the period, the part that goes beyond that will be offset against your BAföG - you will therefore receive less transferred.

In the case of compulsory internships in which you receive a salary, however, there is no tax exemption - Your income will be fully offset against your BAföG rate.

How much is deducted from my BAföG?

The calculation of how much of your BAföG you have to forego if you earn money on an internship is quite complicated. You can therefore either find out more from your BAföG office or get help from a BAföG calculator. You can find some of them on the internet - just search Google for “BAföG calculator”.

Is an unpaid or badly paid internship worth it?

Even if you are a Compulsory internship or a short one Orientation internship and you are not entitled to the statutory minimum wage, of course, that does not mean that you will not earn anything at all in your internship. In this case, however, your employer can decide individually whether and how much salary to pay you.

Because one thing is certain: an employer can always pay you if they want!

In many cases employers agree to offer their interns at least one instead of the minimum wage Expense allowance to pay. Often this is in the range of 400 to 450 euros per month and should cover the travel costs to the workplace.

job interview

You should already know whether and how much salary you can expect in your internship in the job interview ask. Also in employment contract the salary is recorded along with other formalities such as the start and duration of the internship, daily working hours or vacation entitlement.

But unfortunately there is too still some industries in which unpaid internships are still not uncommon. These include the media, advertising and tourism industries. And that may sound unfair at first - after all, you work eight hours a day just like all the other employees. The statement “No salary = internship is not worth it” is nonsense anyway!

If you are not dependent on a salary, you should never categorically reject an unpaid internship. However, in this case you should be sure that the value is right. It is therefore important that you, as a prospective intern, discuss with your future employer what you can expect during your time at the company before starting your job (preferably during the interview). Then you should consider what added value the unpaid (or poorly paid) internship can have for you.

Here are some reasons why a non-remunerated internship can be worthwhile for you:

  • "Trying is better than studying": Before you fix yourself on a career path, you should make sure that you even like this job. An internship in the respective profession is a great way to find out!
  • Gathering work experience: Almost every job advertisement states that professional experience is desired. Before you have completed your studies or your apprenticeship, you can get this practice almost exclusively through one thing: internships.
  • Contacts, contacts, contacts: The notorious "Vitamin B". An internship helps you to make acquaintances within the industry in which you would like to work during your school days, apprenticeship or studies. If a position later becomes vacant, it is only beneficial if you are positively remembered in the company. But you can also come across exciting job offers in the course of your career through contacts made to various groups of people such as customers during your internship.
  • A well-filled résumé: Even if you didn't enjoy the internship and you may even decide to take a different career path, an internship is never a waste of time. Every job eventually fills the resume and means that you've gained work and life experience. For many recruiters, a well-filled CV is more important than a fancy cover letter or good grades!

Find your perfect internship now!