Joining forces with Christa Weidner
If you are a freelancer in Germany these days, there is one topic that is unavoidable: Scheinselbständigkeit. It can be roughly translated as “fake self-employment” and means that a working relationship between a freelancer and a client can be ruled as being too similar to that of a employee and employer to be considered “freelance”. The consequences of such a ruling (which is done by the German Rentenversicherung, i.e. pension fund) are severe — social security fees have to be repaid by the client and in addition high fines may be imposed.
To make matters worse, there are no clear rules that can be followed to avoid Scheinselbständigkeit, only guidelines (don’t work exclusively for one client for too long, try to work as ‘independently’ as possible, decide for yourself when and where to work, etc.), many of which are outdated or have been proven void in practice.
So not only is Scheinselbständigkeit something a freelancer should think about every time s/he talks to a new client, it is also something that makes many companies very hesitant to work with freelancers in the first place. All in all, it’s a very hairy topic, regularly an issue in political discussions and demands, and it also comes up in our Uplink community quite a lot. This is why we’re especially happy to announce that we are joining forces with Christa Weidner, arguably the preeminent expert in this field.
Christa has been a vocal champion of “real self-employment” to avoid Scheinselbständigkeit and a long critic of the practices of recruiting agencies. Just in recent weeks, she has published several resources on the topic:
- An article on VGSD.de that explains Scheinselbständig in detail,
- A info graphic about Scheinselbständigkeit (paid),
- The Scheinselbstständigkeit-Navigator, a tool to diagnose whether a relationship with a client could be deemed scheinselbständig,
- SkillPills, a 9 day email course on how to avoid Scheinselbstständigkeit,
- and a 1 day seminar in Hamburg on the topic „Gesetzliche Grundlagen und vertragliche Fallstricke“.
We look forward to working with Christa on our shared goals — to lobby for clear rules about what constitutes “real self-employment” and to support freelancers in being able to find clients without having to rely on recruitment agencies.
Are you a freelance IT expert in Germany and would like to join a community of like-minded people to discuss Scheinselbständigkeit and many more topics? Join us at Uplink!