Per diems are allowances a company can provide when an employee spends time working somewhere else than the regular working place or residence for more than 8 hours

This article outlines how to calculate per diem compensation in Germany as per the rules defined by the Bundesministerium der Finanzen

Circula automatically calculates per diem allowances following these rules, based on the information we ask you to enter in the app while submitting trips. More information on trips in this article.

Per diem rules if you are travelling in Germany

If you are staying in Germany during your trip, you will receive:

  • A half day compensation (€12) for your first day of travel 
  • A half day compensation (€12) for trips that lasted less than 24 hours, if: a) more than 8 hours were spent on trip - exactly 8 hours are not compensated - and b) the trip start time is between 0:00 pm and 4:00 pm
  • A full day compensation (€24) for a trip that took 24 hours and/or for each full day in between the first and last days of the trip
  • An extra allowance (€20) for each night spent during the trip when no accommodation was provided or paid for by the company

Your daily allowance will be reduced:

  • By 20% when breakfast is provided 
  • By 40% when lunch or dinner is provided
  • Entirely if all three meals are provided or separately expensed 

❕Important: Please note that the amount to deduct is always calculated against a full day allowance amount, even in the case of half-day compensations. In this case, if the total to deduct is more than the daily allowance itself, the allowance is set to EUR 0 for that day.

📝 Note: 

  • A trip starts when the employee leaves the workplace/residence and ends with the return to these
  • A maximum of three months spent on a single trip can be reimbursed

Source: Reisekostenabrechnung.com

Example

Assuming a three-day business trip in Germany. Our employee leaves his home for the trip on the first day at 6:30 pm. They spend the second day attending a workshop for a client, where the hotel breakfast is paid by the employer. On the third and last day, breakfast and lunch is covered by the employer, and then travels back home after 6:00 pm.  

The employee will receive:

  • For day 1: a half day compensation of 12.00  
  • For day 2: a full day compensation of 24.00  reduced by 20% (4.80) as breakfast was already covered = 19.20 
  • For day 3: a half day compensation of €12.00  reduced by 60% (14.40) as breakfast and lunch were already covered = €0

Total compensation: 12.00 + 19.20 + €0 = €31.20

Per diem rules when travelling abroad

The same rules as described above apply for trips abroad, but with different compensation rates depending on the country and city.  For a given trip day, the applicable rate is:

  • The rate of the destination country when travelling from Germany to abroad or from a foreign country to another foreign country
  • The rate of the destination country you reach before 00:00 pm local time for intermediate days, if you are travelling to multiple locations the same day

Example

This time our employee goes on a two-day business trip to France. The employee leaves for their trip on the first day at 9:00 am and lands in Paris at 11:30 am where the employee spends the rest of the day at a conference. The second day, the employee takes the plane and lands in Germany at 1:00 pm. Adding that the company didn't provide an accommodation and the employee, therefore, gets an extra allowance instead. 

The employee will receive:

  • For day 1: a half day compensation of 39.00 (Paris compensation rate) as well as the extra allowance of 135.00 (Paris compensation rate) = 174.00
  • For day 2: a half day compensation of 39.00 (Paris compensation rate) = 39.00 

Total compensation: 174.00 + 39.00 = 213.00

Multi Stop Trip


Heavy travelers occasionally go on trips that include multiple destinations. While this doesn't affect the per diem calculation in some case, in others it has a heavy impact when the cities have different calculation rates.
Giving users the option to add multiple destinations to a trip reduces the steps for them to get to their proper per diem payment.

The correct calculation in this case would be to use the full day rate of the city that the user was in before midnight every day.

Example

Destination: Paris
Start: Jan 3rd, 11 am
End: Jan 5th, 6:00 pm (= time of arrival 2nd location)
Destination: London
End: Jan 7th, 6:00 pm (= time of arrival at home)

The employee will receive:

  • Jan 3rd: a half day compensation for Paris = 39€
  • Jan 4th: a full day compensation for Paris = 58€
  • Jan 5th: a full day compensation for London = 62€
  • Jan 6th: a full day compensation for London = 62€
  • Jan 7th: a half day compensation for London = 41€

Total compensation: 39 € + 58 € + 62 € + 62 € + 41 € = 262 €

Do you still have questions?

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