Check out today’s Teatime Titbit: The language of the pay slip
I clearly remember the first time I received a German pay slip from work. Wow, numbers, lines, words and abbreviations galore. It was easy enough to find the netto aka take-home pay at the botton right but when I realised which was the gross pay and the difference between, I nearly fell off my chair. OMG, well I was single and no kids (non at least that I knew of) at that time.
Having picked myself back up, I asked my colleague to run me through all the gobbledegook. In the UK (at that time) you had income tax and the rest was all included in the National Insurance deducation and I guess the British government decided in which pot how much went to.
Not the case in German, each deducation was accounted for and you knew how much health insurance, unemployment benefit, you pay. We went down the mile long list, one by one, long-term (nursing) care insurance? What’s that? Ok, I guess I may well get old and in need of care in Germany. Solidarity tax, help rebuild Eastern Germany, fair enough!! A visit to East Berlin just after the wall came down made me realise they didn’t need a solidarity tax, they needed a mini miracle – looking back it happened. Amazing feat, eh!
Then we came to pièce de résistance, any guesses, yep the church tax, having pick myself up a second time, I blurted out “you’ve got to be kidding, right?“ My dear colleague (who remains nameless) just matter-of-factly said “NO“ closely followed by an equally blasé “but you can opt out .. but then …“ I had stopped listening after ‘opt out‘, a get out of jail card! “How do I opt out?“ I interjected.
It was the fact that I didn’t want to ‘donate‘ to the church because I had always paid into the collection box/plate in church back in England, but it was this idea that it automatically came of my pay – come what may – that’s what ruffled my feathers.
Needless to say our conversation ended quite abruptedly as I dashed off to the nearest Administration Office for Citizens,
QOTD. “Is there any experience you had while abroad, which really ruffled your feathers?“
To remember sth clearly (etw noch genau vor Augen haben), pay slip (Gehaltsabrechnung), abbreviation (Abkürzung), galore (in Menge), netto (Net), gross (pay) Bruttogehalt, gobbledegook (Papierdeutsch), income tax (Einkommensteuer), deduction (Abzug), be accounted for (sich erklären lassen mit), health insurance (Krankenversicherung), unemployment benefit (Arbeitslosengeld), long-term care insurance, (Pflegeversicherung), fair enough (verständlich), feat (Großtat), pièce de résistance (Krönung), to blurt sth out (ausplappern), to kid sb (jdn auf den Arm nehmen), matter-of-factly (sachlich), blasé, (gleichgültig), to opt out of sth (aussteigen), to interject (einwerfen), to donate (spenden), to ruffle sb’s feather’s (jdn verärgern), needless to say (natürlich), to dash off (losdüsen) Administration Office for Citizens (Bürgeramt)