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About Brockman

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  • Location Kreuzberg, Berlin
  • Nationality US
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth
  1. US Student Debt Repayment Assistance by Employer

      People do get pay rises in Berlin. I've had a few, the employees I manage have had a few, and my wife has had a few. If you say you are close with the boss, and you can be open with this person, then you might as well kick off the conversation with him/her. What industry are you in? How long have you been at the company? How difficult would it be to replace you and ramp up a new person? These things will matter. Research online on Glassdoor and on job adverts listing salaries and try to find similar positions with salary info you can use to support your case for a pay rise. Also, check what people with your qualifications / credentials get paid on average from any info you can find online. Can you prove that you are underpaid and point to statistics that a person with a similar professional profile gets paid more than you in Germany? That's what you'll need to do.  
  2. US Student Debt Repayment Assistance by Employer

      Fair point, there are tax breaks for US student loans when one files their tax declaration in the US, but as an US citizen living abroad, one is very unlikely to benefit from these tax breaks (you can reduce tax owed based on the amount of interest on the loans you paid). Even when you take into consideration a high salary, due to being credited for tax paid in Germany, a US citizen resident in Germany is unlikely to owe so much in US tax where a student loan deduction would make any dent in the amount of tax owed.    In my own case, I had student loan debt at 6% (fixed from when I consolidated them, couldn't re-finance it again), and I took out a personal consumer loan in Germany at a bit over 3%, so in my case it made sense. The drawback is there was no option to suspend the repayment in case of hardship, which is possible with US student loans (although, they make this very difficult and there are a lot of penalties nowadays).
  3. US Student Debt Repayment Assistance by Employer

    I seriously doubt your company would see paying off your loan or giving you the money as salary much differently. In fact, I think asking them to repay your US student loan would probably seem very complicated to them. How do you envision they would do that? Take over your US loan and assume the debt? Establish contact with the US entity you are repaying, and pay on your behalf? Also, Germans in general do not understand taking out massive amounts of money in loans for university degrees as is normal in the US, you might just be opening up a can of worms in which your explaining a large debt to your employer. In any case, in the unlikely event they did agree to it, the repayment would probably count as normal or bonus income, so they'd tax it as such and it would be of no benefit to them. It's better if that money goes directly to you, which means you should keep the particulars of your debt situation to yourself and ask for the raise. If you have established credit in Germany and you plan on being here for a while, then look into a local loan from a German bank, maybe you can get a better rate than your US student loan. Take the money from the German loan and pay off the loan in the US, and make monthly payments towards your loan in Germany. No need to transfer money to the US on a regular basis and deal with the fluctuating exchange rate.
  4. I am a dual British / Irish citizen and applied for my Irish passport in Berlin (got it 1 month before Brexit vote). I remember applying for the foreign birth registration and passport in one session. However, I do not remember getting a certificate of a foreign birth (I do have the Irish passport however). What does this look like? I am pretty sure I would have remembered it. I remember the people at the Irish embassy being very nice and helpful, although, a bit unorganized. Maybe they forgot to give it to me?      
  5. Speaking from personal experience, yes, it does count. My wife was due to return from Parental leave to her job on July 15th, but she quit around end of May and her last day was June 30th. She never actually returned to work. She had to forgo 15 days of Elterngeld payment, so you might want to look into that.
  6. US election ballot submission (Nov. 6)?

      How important is the vote in your state? If you vote in a state with an important election, then call the board of elections and ask what would be best, and be prepared to pay for express / tracked shipping (it's not so expensive). If you're voting in NY for example, just send it regular mail, it doesn't matter.
  7.   First, I got a Apostilled copy of our marriage certificate (from the USA) and then I got a certified translation of it into German. We went to the Bürgeramt (Berlin) and they 'registered' our marriage without a fuss and gave us a Bescheinigung (stamped confirmation document) that this had been done. Great, all done, I thought.   My wife then wanted to change her surname to mine, so we went to the Standesamt. The civil servant we got at the Standesamt didn't think the mere 'registration at the Bürgeramt' was enough, so he asked to see the marriage certificate again, and insisted we do a 'Nachbeurkundung' which basically means a German recognition of the marriage, more 'serious' than merely registering it at the Bürgeramt. I don't think this was necessary, but there is only one guy, no accountability from a manager, and they can decide whatever they want (and they want to keep these Amts overflowing with people, that is their sole purpose). We tried to complain but it was to no avail, they can decide whatever they want, so usually it is quicker to just get them what they want (or try and sue them, I guess, I've heard of people doing that but I never have). Fine, we'll do it, I had the Apostilled copy and the German translation and I showed it to him. However, he also asked for my birth certificate (USA - needed to be certified translated into German) and my wife's birth certificate (long form, needed to be re-obtained in PERSON from her small town in NRW - that was the only way, no way to have it posted) as well as a 'Ehefähigkeitszeugnis' which I needed to get from both the US embassy and the embassy of the EU country which I am a citizen of, so 2 TRIPS TO EMBASSIES. So, basically, the same exact documentation I would have needed had I decided to marry in Germany. Now I got a German marriage certificate that says we were married in NYC, which is cool, but it was a huge ball-ache to get it.
  8. Listen to them, do it in Germany. I thought I was saving myself paperwork when I married my German wife in the USA (I am a dual EU / US citizen), but when it came time to change her surname and 'document' the marriage in Germany, I ended up having to get all of the same paperwork I would have needed to get had we tied the knot it Germany. You might as well get it out of the way now.
  9. Child's passport expiring

    Email them, they reply. They can also be flexible about these things.
  10. You probably need a 'beglaubigte Übersetzung'   I used this person for my US marriage certificate and was very satisfied with the work and price (it was also accepted by the German authorities, although not for a spousal visa, without hesitation): -- I would highly recommend her.
  11. Hiring a part-time babysitter in Berlin

    Thank you Krieg. I understand a Mini-job is not possible, because this person has several jobs and makes more than 450 EUR per month (even if the other income won't come from me). I think the freelance is the way to go. I'm going to look into contract templates and considerations.
  12. Hello TTers,   We are interested in hiring a babysitter in Berlin (a few hours per week, 300 or so EUR per month). Is it legal to just pay the person via a bank transfer every month, and leave it to the person handle all of the bureaucracy on their own? The candidate we are speaking to has several freelance gigs, so I do not think a mini-job is suitable, nor do I want to deal with spending an extra 20-30% of the total amount (not to mention time dealing with paperwork) I am to pay this person on a Steuerberater to deal with that should be a pretty simple, straightforward process (yeah yeah, I know, German bureaucracy, can't escape it, need a pro, yada yada yada). Would the person need to send me an invoice, or could we just write out a freelance contract which specifies everything? The person in question is an EU citizen with a DE Anmeldebescheinigung. Thank you,   -Brockman
  13. Maternity leave and the law in Germany

    For all the parents I know, I've not heard of a company in Germany taking away equipment, badge, and suspending an email account when a person goes on parental leave. It sounds drastic. You are still employed and covered by all of the agreements you signed (NDA, privacy, security, code of conduct, etc.) even when on parental leave.   My wife works for a large publicly traded company, and she kept all her equipment (computer and mobile phone) and her badge, and would go to the office for social reasons and parties. She may have had to go and fill out some paperwork a few times. I took 6 months of parental leave, and I work for the German branch of a large publicly traded American company as well. I kept all my work equipment, my badge (which still worked), and my email account still works. I was permitted to use my mobile phone for personal use while on leave. In general, my company is very strict about security and confidentiality.   It seems to me that your wives' employers are trying to send a message that they won't be welcomed back. If they take away email, that impedes easy communication. How are they supposed to communicate the info they are requested to communicate?
  14. We're looking for an native English speaking babysitter for our 2 German-American boys (3 years old and 9 months old) for two days per week, from about 4-7pm. Occasionally, this will be a little earlier and a little later. This would be to start ASAP.The salary would be negotiable. We would prefer to hire someone on an hourly contract basis (i.e. Mini-job, all official and above-board, etc.) so you should have a valid work permit. We would also request references. Please get in touch via PM if you're interested. We're in Berlin 10965 (Kreuzberg). Thanks!