Employer Covers German Course

December 29, 2023

Instructions in 5 detailed steps:

Unlocking Career Growth: Discover How Your Employer Can Cover The Costs of Your German Course



Table of contents


Contractual situation

Needs assessment

Researching employer offers

Researching course offers



1. Check contract situation


No right to further training? 

Unfortunately, there is no general legal entitlement to further training by the company (neither in the form of time, money nor in-house offers), unless there are corresponding clauses in the employment or collective agreement.
(Source: Stiftung Warentest).


Collective bargaining, employment and training agreements

However, employment contracts without such an agreement can still be renegotiated, and individual clauses amended or a separate further training contract can be concluded for individual further training measures such as German courses.



Watch out for the repayment clause!

Employers often agree a repayment clause with the employee for further training costs. The employee pays the costs back to the employer in the event of termination. Such a clause is generally permitted. (Source: Juraforum)


2. Needs assessment for a German course


Would you like to ask your employer to pay for your German course? Then you should determine the need for the employer and yourself.



Use our checklist to do this:

unchecked Is there an obligation to speak German in the company?

It is important to mention that the employer can oblige you to take a German course, which you must take in your own time and pay for yourself, if it is important for your job to speak German, unless otherwise stipulated in the collective agreement or employment contract.

unchecked Do you need to be able to speak and understand German for your job?

As much as is required for the job description, e.g. a receptionist with customer contact should have a good command of German, whereas a warehouse worker should at least understand the safety regulations, unless these are posted in different languages.
not posted in different languages. In any case, the employer must ensure that employees are not exposed to any danger to life and limb and that no errors or misunderstandings arise in the course of operations.
(Source: FAZ.net)

unchecked Does insufficient knowledge of German hinder your chances of promotion?

It is positive for your employer if you can take on additional tasks or apply internally for a more suitable position as soon as your German language skills are up to scratch.

unchecked Is there a predominantly business interest?

Companies can deduct German courses for tax purposes if there is a predominantly business interest, as employer benefits for German courses for professional integration do not lead to wages in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (not even for refugees).

Employees therefore no longer have to pay tax on the language course as a non-cash benefit. For the employer, the expenses for the language course, like other training costs, are tax-free.

(Source: IHK)

Recommended reading: Benefits under employment law: German courses (Source: Brennecke Anwälte)

unchecked Does a German course improve the employer’s branding?

Word gets around about great working conditions and additional benefits, because they increase employee satisfaction and make the employer more attractive to other foreign specialists. Companies that hire foreign employees also have a great social responsibility to integrate them successfully and long-term into the society in which they work.

unchecked Does a German course increase integration and interdisciplinary skills?

Word gets around about great working conditions and additional benefits, because they increase employee satisfaction and make the employer more attractive to other foreign specialists. Companies that hire foreign employees also have a great social responsibility to integrate them successfully and long-term into the society in which they work.

unchecked Can further training reduce costs for the employer?

The more satisfied and integrated employees feel in the company and in their daily lives, the lower the risk that they will leave the company. Employers can therefore save a lot of money on external recruitment and training of new employees, as further training is usually cheaper than external recruitment.


3. Research existing employer benefits


Find information about continuing education services

Glassdoor, Payscale and Indeed, the company website, HR, your manager and job descriptions provide information about whether a company offers training services. It is then very likely that you will take on a German course.


Understand and inquire about the employer’s benefits in detail

      • How do you qualify?

      • What type of courses/services are possible?

      • How can you register for it and how long do you have to do it?

      • Are there any restrictions? (e.g. are digital, external offers possible from the provider of your choice or are there fixed providers?)


Imagine starting a new job and asking if the employer will pay for your German course. He says yes.

Later it turns out, e.g. B. that it does not support digital, external providers and therefore your online German course at German Online Institute falls through.

The good news: According to a Bitcom study from 2018, 38% of employers were “very open” and 41% “somewhat open” to digital training offers. These numbers should have increased significantly in recent years.


You can only negotiate successfully with your new or existing employer if you know exactly what you want and need. So research extensively and if you are well informed, discuss such training courses directly before you sign a new employment contract, especially if it is an ongoing, long-term and costly training service such as a German course.

For example, it makes a big difference to your quality of life if employers pay for the German course for their employees and let you take it during working hours. If the company is interested in your learning successes and course participation and you have to be accountable, this often increases motivation and learning progress.


4. Research providers


No matter whether with a new or existing employer. Every further training service, such as a German course, must be submitted and applied for and can potentially be rejected by the employer. Good research is the key to success.


Research the continuing education market

If you have training in mind that you need, you should research and check suitable providers (trial lesson), ask important questions about the conditions and have an offer drawn up.


Ideally, a German course taken as a continuing education service, should:

      • Be flexible in terms of time, location and content

      • Have good reviews

      • From a professional provider with years of good reputation


      • Be reliable, i.e. H. more of a school, the substitute teachers

        and can guarantee the implementation of the course.

Online German courses for work are particularly suitable
Further training services because they save time, their success is clearly measurable and
participation and achievement of learning goals within the GEFR framework
can be clearly documented.


5. Negotiate successfully


Check your negotiating position

If you have an existing employment relationship, regular employee appraisals provide information about how important you are to the company.

You can also determine your market value (source: Stepstone) to go into negotiations with increased self-esteem.

Never be afraid to ask about further training opportunities, as these benefit both parties, in contrast to a mere salary increase from which only the employee benefits.

Have a clear idea in advance of what you want from the employer and be willing to compromise. Therefore, be well informed. See steps 2-4.


In general, negotiate contracts with confidence. In 2023 alone, there will be a shortage of more than half a million skilled workers in Germany.
(Source: Kraichgau.news)

Many large companies and increasingly medium and small companies now offer their employees a wide range of further training opportunities, such as German courses for international employees.

However, the shortage of skilled workers is a major issue in the labor market and the chances of costs being covered are excellent, despite the lack of legal status.

Clear concerns and demonstrate benefits

In every negotiation situation, it makes sense to put yourself in the shoes of your counterpart. Only if you understand your employer’s hurdles and concerns can you offer solutions to successfully overcome them and choose a course offering that is accommodating, e.g. B. is cheaper than normal, takes less time, etc.


The main concerns of companies were

      • Lack of time for time off (52%*)

      • Too little budget or further training too expensive (42%*)

      • no suitable offer (25%*)

      • Confusing further training market (21%*)

      • Employees have little interest in further training (24%*)

*Bitcom study from 2018



Be able to name the 8 most important advantages for the employer

1. Effective Communication:

Knowledge of German enables clearer and more efficient communication.

2. Teamwork:

A common language promotes teamwork and avoids misunderstandings.

3. Customer Service:

Employees who speak German can respond better to German-speaking customers, which improves customer service.

4. Professional Development:

Knowledge of German improves career advancement opportunities.

5. International business relationships:

In a global business environment, knowledge of German is an advantage, especially if the company maintains business relationships with German-speaking partners.

6. Diversity and Inclusion:

Offering German courses demonstrates the employer’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, which can promote a positive work environment.

7. Attractiveness for skilled workers:

Companies that offer training opportunities are more attractive to professionals who want to expand their skills.

8. Legal requirements:

In some industries or regions, knowledge of German can meet legal requirements, especially when communication with customers or authorities is required.


+ The most important advantages of online German courses for employers

      • easier access
      • Time and location flexibility and thus improved employability of employees
      • Cost savings
      • standardized quality
      • individual, job-related course content
      • Multilingualism of the courses
      • Nowadays it is often more motivating, with faster results

Negotiate without concrete course ideas

If you do not yet have a concrete idea for further training, but would still like to negotiate the possibility of such a service before signing a new employment contract, we recommend attaching importance to the following:

      • Annual budget for further training (common in a Bitcom study from 2018
        on average EUR 709 per employee per year)
      • Exemption for further training opportunities (these may be taken during working hours)
      • Free choice of training courses and providers and inclusive digital offers
      • Ideally, no repayment clause/term contractual commitment


Negotiate with concrete course ideas

1. Preparation through research | Understand the contract situation and the needs

      • Date and offer number
      • Name and contact details of the course provider
      • Description and number of service requested, e.g. E.g. online German course, individual lessons…
      • Total price and possible additional costs, e.g. B. for course books
      • Payment terms, e.g. B. Advance payment
      • Service period or delivery time, e.g. E.g. valid for up to one year from the date of purchase
      • VAT number (if available)
      • Until when the offer lasts
      • Conditions
      • Course start (e.g. at German Online Institute a course start is possible at any time)
      • Course target, e.g. B. with an online German course, tailored, quick learning of the German language
      • Benefits for employers and employees, e.g. E.g. with the online German course: cost savings because travel and travel time are eliminated, resources can be used, language improvement and integration into everyday working life
      • Location of training, e.g. B. Online in an employer’s seminar room or at home
      • Exemption necessary?
      • Professional invoicing from the provider possible? Does the provider have to register as a supplier with the employer?
      • Why this particular provider/training? Reputation? Price-performance ratio? Trial lesson already completed?

2. Reasoning | Advantages for the employer

3. Cost Considerations | Minimize the impact on everyday work by, for example: B. choose an online German course with flexible hours

4. Repayment or commitments | If necessary, propose a training contract with a repayment agreement if the employer has concerns about the investment and commit to using the acquired knowledge in the work.

5. Presenting a plan | Create a clear plan for how the course can fit into your work schedule to minimize disruption.

6. Interview agreement | Ask for a formal meeting with your manager or HR to discuss the possibility of covering the costs.

7. Alternative financing | See if there are internal education funds or other programs that help fund training or courses.

8. Show flexibility | Be willing to compromise and show understanding for your employer’s concerns.



Good research including an explicit course offering is always a good starting point for your negotiation.

Remain flexible, because if the company rejects the offer, the provider or both, it must justify this and suggest alternatives.

You can then draw conclusions from this and obtain more suitable offers that the employer cannot refuse.

In summary, German courses help to strengthen the company’s professional development, communication and competitiveness.


If all else fails

      • cover the costs yourself
      • Use other resources, such as a tandem with a German colleague
      • Be patient until the next employee meeting
      • change employer

We wish you much success.

Your German Online Institute team

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