Many employees working in Germany are engaged in a wide range of construction work. Legal employment in our neighbour is also profitable because of SOKA-BAU privileges. Find out what SOKA-BAU in Germany is and how to get your money back.

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    SOKA-BAU – what is it?

    SOKA-BAU is the German Holiday Fund. It is an institution that deals with the granting of additional funds if every employee’s holiday entitlement has not been taken while working in Germany. This is because all construction companies that operate in Germany are obliged to pay a certain holiday contribution to the SOKA-BAU holiday fund. If you have not taken your day off, you can claim a refund of the contributions paid or compensation.

    SOKA-BAU equivalent – Germany. How to obtain it?

    If you want to recover the funds you have paid in, you should complete the required formalities. The basic document you will need is the Urlaubsnachwei, which is the employee’s bank statement. This is where you will find all the information about your last two years of work in Germany. This mainly concerns data such as:

    • length of employment,
    • gross remuneration received.

    In addition, the following conditions need to be met for the equivalent to be reimbursed:

    • a change of job to a non-construction-related industry,
    • termination of work in the construction industry for health reasons,
    • resignation from work in Germany,
    • starting a business that excludes employment under a contract of employment,
    • completion of seasonal work (students and apprentices),
    • retirement or pension.

    SOKA-BAU – when are we talking about equivalence and when are we talking about compensation?

    Construction companies that operate in Germany and pay contributions to the holiday fund are entitled to claim reimbursement for unused holiday in two forms: as an allowance and as compensation. It is worth knowing that the SOKA-BAU makes a distinction between the two cases, so it is worth learning more about them in order to know how to claim the money.

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    SOKA-BAU and holiday pay

    The allowance from SOKA-BAU is paid for the previous year or the ongoing year, i.e. for 2022 and 2023, for example. However, its payment can only be claimed after the end of the work in the construction industry. The right to apply for the equivalent itself ends at the end of 2023. However, late application does not mean that the money is lost – compensation can be paid after the SOKA-BAU deadline in Germany.

    SOKA-BAU in Germany and holiday compensation

    As far as the compensation is concerned, this leave can no longer be chosen as days off, but can only be claimed back. In this case, it does not matter whether the employee is still working in the construction industry or not. In 2023, it is still possible to submit a claim for compensation to SOKA-BAU – until 31.12.2023 at the latest. After this time, the money is forfeited.

    SOKA-BAU – Necessary documents for holiday reimbursement

    In order to count on being reimbursed for unused leave, several documents need to be prepared for the SOKA-BAU in Germany. Which forms these should be depends on whether the employee is requesting an allowance or compensation. Both situations are described below.

    SOKA-BAU’s allowance and documents

    When applying for an allowance from the German Holiday Building Fund, an application must be submitted, together with documents such as:

    • Urlaubsnachweis, i.e. an up-to-date statement of the employee’s account (this is sent by the cash register to the home address provided by the employee),
    • Meldung zur Sozialversicherung – a print which is a confirmation of the social insurance declaration,
    • photocopy of Identifikationsnummer (if assigned),
    • confirmation of completion of work in the construction industry in Germany.

    Compensation from SOKA-BAU – documents

    As far as compensation is concerned, a complete application should only include the Urlaubsnachweis and a photocopy of the identification number (Identifikationsnummer).

    Urlaubsnachweis from SOKA-BAU – what information will it contain?

    The Urlaubsnachweis is sent out annually by the Holiday Fund. It is an essential document in order to be able to claim reimbursement for unused holiday in Germany. It contains some important information such as:

    • remuneration (stated in gross terms),
    • duration of employment,
    • number of holiday days,
    • assigned holiday pay,
    • leave status at the end of the previous year.

    The statement of account generally arrives at the end of March, although it is not always there.

    SOKA-BAU – how does the withdrawal work?

    All holiday contributions that are paid by the construction company are reimbursed directly to the individual employee’s bank account. Therefore, an account number must be provided when requesting reimbursement for unused leave. As far as the waiting time for the money is concerned, this varies. The money can reach the account after just 2 weeks or even up to 6 months.

    Why is the refund amount on the statement higher than the one I received?

    This is because SOKA-BAU deducts insurance premiums. Moreover, the amount paid out is also taxed. What is important: after the payment, the employee should receive a Lohnsteuerbescheinigung from the employer, which is the equivalent of a PIT-11 – it is necessary for the German tax return.

    SOKA-BAU Germany – get your money back

    If you need help with your SOKA-BAU fund recovery, that means we can help you. Contact us and provide the necessary documents. We will take care of all the formalities and recover your unused holiday funds. You are more than welcome! Borsuk Podatki – reliable tax return from abroad.

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