Differences Between Gehalt and Lohn


If you check any English-German dictionary for the translation of Gehalt and Lohn, you would think the words are synonyms. Leo though, tries to differentiate them as Gehalt is wages and Lohn is salary. That to me sounds like the same thing, but apparently there are differences.

According to most German jokes: “Arbeiter erhalten als Entgelt einen Lohn – Angestellte ein Gehalt”. Translating the words Arbeiter and Angestellte will get you in the same problem as Gehalt and Lohn. In English both words could mean employee or worker and can be used interchangeably but in German there’s a huge difference so let’s just get to differentiating Gehalt and Lohn first.

Gehalt Lohn
Independent. As long as you work there, you get a specific income regardless of hours worked or work done. Dependent on a specific result either number of hours worked or work done in a specified time,
Is constant varies from one month to another

The Lohn and Gehalt should be independent of the Tarif regulations of the contract and the minimum Tarif wage shouldn’t apply to either of them.

Both can be “pimped” with allowances like the Christmas and Holiday allowances, company car, discounts and extra training or conferences etc.

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