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Working Conditions for Filming

Working Conditions in Germany


Germany is part of the EU. No special permits for EU members (including the Swiss) needed. Non-EU (f. e. US) collaborators need permits.

Union agreement

There is a union agreement between the „Allianz Deutscher Produzenten – Film & Fernsehen e.V.” and “Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft – ver.di”. The union agreement is not binding for all productions, but is the base for following info, as most of the filmmakers refer to the agreement.

Working Hours




For precise details, look at the union agreements, linked to at the bottom.

Social Insurances

These figures depend on two variables: the actual salary (with a cap per week or day) and the length of employment. These are the 2019 rough caps for:

  1. Health: per month € 4,537.50
  2. Pension: per month € 6,700.00

These apply to crew and cast. Fringes are roughly split 50/50 between employer and employee (for health / long term care insurances, only employees have to pay additionally 0.9% / 0.25%). These are the current employer’s shares (varying slightly from year to year):

  1. pension insurance 9.3%
  2. health insurance 7.3%
  3. compulsory long term care insurance 1.525 %
  4. unemployment insurance 1.25%
  5. employer’s liability insurance association 2.92% (cap 75,000)
  6. employer’s insolvency fund 0.06%
  7. contribution to continuation of payments to sick employees and pregnancy 1.3%
  8. holiday entitlement 10% (half a day per week)

Total fringes to be paid by the employer amount to an average of approx. 23% plus the additional 10% holiday entitlement. For budget purposes this average is not very precise — due to the cap, for the lowest salaries the highest percentages apply, for the highest salaries much lower percentages instead. The average therefore depends on the numeric relation between low paid and high paid crew members.

‘Creative’ crew members (such as production designers, conceptional artists etc.) entitled to issue invoices for their activities, are subject to KSK (artist’s social insurance) contributions: 4.2% in 2018. (their invoiced rented equipment is subject to 4.2 % KSK as well).

Cast has to be insured not only for shooting days, but also for additional preparation days as follows:

Actors working below one week per month (minimum 7 shoot days) have to be paid the entire month in social security (pension, healthcare but not unemployment fringes), which leads to much higher payments in social security for the actors. This regulation is called  "disrupted engagement" and was created to give the actors bigger pensions. So, if an actor is engaged on 2 shooting days in i.e. January and 1 day in February the full insurance for two months must get paid.

Crew Rates

Please refer to this chart, applicable from 2018 to 2020.

These are absolute minimum rates are usually applied to TV productions for max. 50 hrs / week. For theatrical movies, they can increase by 50% or even more, depending on experience, reputation and track record.

Electricians and grips are not yet included in union agreements: the usual (10 hrs) rate for a gaffer is about € 360 (in reality, because 10 hrs are rarely sufficient, between 450 — 500 per day, for a key / dolly grip about € 340,- (400 — 450), for a lighting technician about € 320,- (360).

It is not allowed to substitute a regular job with a trainee/intern!

Trainees/ interns fall under the minimum wage law since Jan 2015. Exceptions are obligatory internships during studies or internships for job orientation (up to 3 months and only one internship in a specific professional area is allowed).

The compulsory minimum wage in 2020 amounts to € 9.35 / hour.

For precise details, look at the union agreements, linked to at the bottom.


Per diems are € 24 per day (24 hours) for domestic journeys, minus € 4.80 if breakfast is provided, minus € 9.60 if lunch is provided, minus € 9.60 if dinner is provided.

For absence from home for less than 24 hrs but more than 14 hrs the amount is reduced to € 12.

These amounts are tax free for the employee — higher per diems can be negotiated (and often are for name actors for example) but are subject to taxation then.

Mileage allowances for the use of a car owned by the employee usually amount to € 0.30 / km (sometimes daily or weekly flat amounts are being negotiated).

Actors' Rates

There are no minimum fees, beginners are paid +/- € 500, but fees usually start at € 800. A good actor will be paid between € 2,500 - € 5,000 per day, a German ‘star’ up to € 10,000 – 15,000 per day. Depending on the amount of shooting days, flat deals, reducing the ‘normal’ daily fee, are customary.

For children’s performances, please read the enclosed memo (.doc) and PDF. German labor law — as in most EU countries — for children’s work is very rigid!


120 Euros per day (including fringes). Markups are being paid for interviews, fittings etc. (€ 15 per fitting)


On these links, you find downloadable PDF files for the German Cash Rebate:

Sources of Information

The Films That Got Made

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