Sozialkassen: What you need to know about social insurance funds in Germany

Sozialkassen (social insurance funds) are at the heart of Germany’s Sozialversicherungssystem (social security system). But, the complicated maze of social security funds, including Urlaubskasse (holiday funds) and Zusatzkasse (supplementary pension funds), can get confusing. To help you, here is a list of the main social security organisations, their responsibilities and contact information.


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What is a Sozialkasse?

A Sozialkasse (social insurance fund or social insurance)  is a joint institution of the parties to a collective agreement: These include associations of workers’ and employers’ representatives. Depending on what industry, you might come across the following subgroups of a social insurance fund:

  • Lohnausgleichskassen (wage compensation funds)
  • Urlaubskassen (holiday/vacation leave funds) 
  • Zusatzversorgungskassen (supplementary pension funds)

These institutions do not exist in every sector: Social funds are mainly found in the Handwerk (skilled trades). For professions in the liberal arts, there is also the Künstlersozialkasse (artists’ social insurance fund) and the GEMA fund. Social funds are often abbreviated as SOKAs.

What does the social security fund provide?

The benefits offered by a social insurance fund can be very different. For some sectors, there is an obligation to contribute to the respective social fund. Whether employers have to participate in the social fund procedure depends on the generally binding collective agreements of the sector. The amount of contributions is also regulated in the collective agreement.


The Sozialkassen list

An overview of the responsibilities and contact details of Germany’s Sozialkassen (social insurance funds) is given in the following table.




Responsibilities Contact information 
Sozialkasse der Bauwirtschaft 



Social fund of the building industry

All businesses in the construction industry are compulsory members of SOKA-Bau and must therefore pay contributions.


Disputes with the fund often arise when hybrid businesses try to dodge the obligation to pay contributions. If you set up a construction enterprise that could fall under SOKA-Bau’s jurisdiction, clarify this early. If the obligation to pay contributions is later established, you’ll have to pay up retrospectively.

SOKA Bau Wiesbaden
Sozialkasse der Bauwirtschaft
Urlaubs- und Lohnausgleichskasse der Bauwirtschaft (ULAK)
Wettinerstraße 7
65189 Wiesbaden
0800 – 1200 111 (für Arbeitgeber)
0800 – 1000 881 (für Arbeitnehmer)
www.soka-bau.deSOKA Bau Bayern
Gemeinnützige Urlaubskasse des
Bayerischen Baugewerbes e.V.
Lessingstraße 4
80336 München
089 – 539 89-0
www.urlaubskasse-bayern.deSOKA Bau Berlin
Urlaubs- und Lohnausgleichskasse der Bauwirtschaft
Lückstraße 72/73
10317 Berlin
030 – 515 39-0
Sozialkasse des Bäckereihandwerks


Social fund of the bakery trade

Businesses in the German bakery industry haven’t been required to contribute to the supplementary pension fund since 2003, but the fund is still in operation. Zusatzversorgungskasse für die Beschäftigten des Deutschen Bäckerhandwerks VVaG 
Bondorfer Straße 23
53604 Bad Honnef
02224 – 770 423
Sozialkasse des Dachdeckerhandwerks 
(SOKA-DACH)Social fund of the roofing trade
SOKA DACH oversees the wage compensation fund, the supplementary pension fund and the central pension fund for the roofing trade. Sozialkassen des Dachdeckerhandwerks
Rosenstraße 2
65189 Wiesbaden
0611 – 1601-0
Sozialkasse des Gerüstbaugewerbes 
(SOKA Gerüst)Social Fund of the scaffolding industry
SOKA Gerüst, based in Mainz, is the social insurance fund responsible for scaffolding companies outside Berlin. It enforces collective agreements, ensures minimum social standards and promotes the scaffolding industry. Sozialkasse des Gerüstbaugewerbes 

Mainzer Straße 98 – 102
65189 Wiesbaden
0611 – 7339-0

SOKA Bau Berlin is responsible for companies based in Berlin.

Sozialkasse für das Schornsteinfegerhandwerk
(AKS)Social fund for the chimney sweeping trade
Since 2013, the fund for training costs in the chimney sweeping trade has been helping improve the safety of the profession by supporting training organisations. Ausbildungskostenausgleichskasse im Schornsteinfegerhandwerk GmbH 
Westerwaldstraße 6
53757 Sankt Augustin
02241 – 3407-55
(KSK)Artists’ social fund
The KSK is responsible for self-employed, freelance artists, photographers, publicists, musicians, writers, journalists and similar professional groups. Journalism teachers are also often covered by the KSK. Künstlersozialkasse
Gökerstraße 14
26384 Wilhelmshaven
04421 – 973 405 15-00


GEMA social fund for music composers, lyricists & publishers

The fund consists of three independent departments: the Abteilung Komponisten (composer department), the Abteilung Textdichter (lyricist department) & the Abteilung Musikverleger (music publisher department). The benefits of the GEMA Social Fund are made possible by the solidarity of all GEMA members. GEMA
Bayreuther Straße 37
10787 Berlin
030 – 212 45-00
Sozialkasse für das Maler- und Lackiererhandwerk


Social fund for the painting and varnishing trade

This fund is the umbrella organisation for the collective agreements for painters and varnishers and the IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt trade union. Gemeinnützige Urlaubskasse für das Maler- und Lackiererhandwerk e.V.
John-F.-Kennedy-Straße 6
65189 Wiesbaden
0611 – 763-00
Sozialkasse für das Steinmetz- und Steinbildhauerhandwerk
(Teil der SOKA BAU)Social fund for the stonemasonry and stone sculpture trades
The supplementary pension fund for stonemasons and sculptors has its head office in Wiesbaden. It is part of the construction industry’s social insurance fund. Companies in Berlin can contact the Urlaubs- und Lohnausgleichskasse der Bauwirtschaft Berlin directly. Zusatzversorgungskasse des Steinmetz- und Steinbildhauerhandwerks VVaG
Washingtonstraße 75
65189 Wiesbaden
0611 – 97712-0
www.zvk-steinmetz.deSOKA Bau Berlin is responsible for companies based in Berlin.
Sozialkasse für die Steine-, Erden- und Betonindustrie

Social fund for the stone, earth and concrete industry
(part of SOKA BAU)

Businesses in Bavaria have an independent supplementary pension fund, all other companies are assigned to SOKA Bau in Berlin. For businesses based in Bavaria:

Zusatzversorgungskasse der
Steine- und Erden-Industrie und
des Betonsteinhandwerks VVaG

Bavariaring 23
80336 München
089 – 54 43 30-0


SOKA Bau Berlin is responsible for companies outside Bavaria.

Sozialkasse für die Land- und Forstwirtschaft 
(ZLA – ZLF)Social fund for agriculture and forestry
The supplementary pension scheme for agriculture and forestry is a joint institution of the employers’ associations, IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt and the federal government. Zusatzversorgungswerk für Arbeitnehmer in der Land- und Forstwirtschaft  VVaG
Druseltalstraße 51
34131 Kassel
0561 – 932 79-0
Sozialkasse für den Gartenbau
(EWGaLa)Social fund for horticulture
EWGaLA is the social fund of the garden, landscape and sports ground construction sector. Einzugsstelle des Bundesverband Garten-, Landschafts- und Sportplatzbau e.V. 
Alexander-von-Humboldt-Straße 4
53604 Bad Honnef
02224 – 7707-0


Verbundträger: Special social insurance funds

The German statutory social insurance system consists of:

  • Krankenversicherung (health insurance),
  • Rentenversicherung (pension insurance),
  • Pflegeversicherung (nursing/long-term care insurance),
  • Unfallversicherung (accident insurance), and
  • Arbeitslosenversicherung (unemployment insurance).

In addition to the statutory social insurance institutions, there are other special institutions for individual industries. These include the:

  • Knappschaft-Bahn-See (miners’ insurance fund), and
  • Sozialversicherung für Landwirtschaft, Forsten und Gartenbau (social insurance fund for agriculture, forestry and horticulture).

As these institutions combine several branches of social insurance under one roof, they are referred to as composite institutions. The following table gives an overview of all contact details.



Insurance carrier

Responsiblities Contact information 


Miners’ social fund

The Knappschaft-Bahn-See (Knappschaft) is a merger of the former Bundesknappschaft, the Bahnversicherungsanstalt and the Seekasse. It is the provider of statutory and supplementary pension insurance, health insurance and long-term care insurance. KBS is based in Bochum and has seven regional offices in Hanover, Hamburg, Berlin, Cottbus, Chemnitz, Frankfurt, Saarbrücken and Munich.


The Knappschaft has been the Minijob-Zentrale (Minijob central office) for all of Germany since 2003, and since 2007, it has expanded its services to include statutory insurance for everyone.

Deutsche Rentenversicherung Knappschaft-Bahn-See
Pieperstraße 14-28
44789 Bochum
08000 – 200 501
Sozialversicherung für Landwirtschaft, Forsten und Gartenbau
(SVLFG)Social fund for agriculture, forestry & horticulture
The SVLFG provides statutory old-age, health, long-term care and accident insurance for the agricultural sector. It has a dual function as a Berufsgenossenschaft (employer’s liability insurance association) for the agricultural sector and the so-called “green” professions. Sozialversicherung für Landwirtschaft, Forsten und Gartenbau 
Weißensteinstraße 70 – 72
34131 Kassel
0561 – 78 50


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