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It must be said in advance that every case should be seen individually and that no solutions can be generalized.

1. What to do if your contract is not extended?

If the contract is not renewed by the employer/company all dancers are required to contact their relevant employment agency to notify the agency of the end of the current employment within 3 months of termination notice being given (it is possible to do so via phone). Shortly before the end of the contract or on the first day of unemployment one should register as unemployed. If social benefit contributions have been paid for a period of at least 24 months, applicants are eligible for ALG1 support for 12 months (12 months social benefit contributions paid equal 6 months ALG1 eligibility / 16months equal 8 months ALG1 / 20 months equal 10 months ALG1), which equals 60% of the previous gross income (67% with a child).
If dancers decide themselves not to renew their contract they will still have to register unemployed as above, however they are not eligible for the payment of unemployment benefits. It is therefore recommended to agree the termination of the contract from both sides (be aware of the blocking period). It is also important to register with the ZAV.

2. What is the ZAV artist agency?

The dance department of the ZAV Artist Agency (Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung) is responsible for questions relating to the counseling and representation of dancers, choreographers, ballet masters, assistants, dramaturges, teachers and répétiteuses. It offers advice in contract issues as well as in all artistic questions and is available for information on current events in dance. To participate in auditions and to cover the costs of applying for positions, the ZAV awards grants in certain circumstances. However, the ZAV is not responsible for the process of transition.

Juliane Rößler (Hamburg), Tel. 040/ 28401539, E-mail:

Dirk Elwert (Leipzig), Tel. 0341-337 31-141, E-mail:

3. What to do if you are unemployed for a longer period, unemployed without having had a previous position or are in need due to insufficient income?

In case of unemployment without prior employment or after the completion of the eligibility period for unemployment benefit I, there is the possibility to apply for unemployment benefit II. Despite the name eligibility for unemployment benefit II does not require actual unemployment but is also awarded to supplement income or other benefits.

The eligibility requirements for unemployment benefit II are:
– The home should not be too large (for a single occupant between 45 and 50 sqm)
– The home should not be too expensive (average local rent)
– If the applicant lives with a partner he/she may be means tested and may be responsible for support payments.
– The applicant will be means tested. There is a personal allowance for savings (age x 150 Euros plus a lump sum of 750 Euros). If savings are higher than the above allowances the application for benefits will be declined. In case of retirement provisions the lump sum will be higher (age x 750 Euros).

First time applicants will be required to provide bank statements for the past three months. The job centre will attempt to return all benefit recipients into active employment. This means that it will propose other reasonable employment (there is no qualification or income level protection). If job centre appointments are missed benefits may be cut.

Officially all ALG II recipients are eligible for retraining or business start up support (however in reality such support payments are far more difficult to obtain than under ALG I and a lot of paper work will be necessary). Often benefit recipients will be required to actively seek employment.

Unemployment benefit II includes:

Standard benefit for singles: 404 , Benefit support for partners over 18: 364 

Children up to 5 years: 237 , Children up to 13 years: 270 , Children up to 18 years: 306 

+ Costs for accommodation and heating (depends on location)

+ Payment of health and care support insurance

+ Additional payment requirements (i.e. for pregnancy 61, single parents 129)

In addition loans and other support payments may be made in exceptional circumstances (often in case of loans).
The application for unemployment benefit II can be made in any local job centre (=ARGE).
Please contact your advice centre for further information: