If you are employed as a researcher, you will automatically have pension insurance in Germany. Currently, your pension insurance contribution is around 19 percent of your gross salary. This contribution is split equally between you and your employer. Your share is deducted directly from your salary. Those who voluntarily sign up to statutory pension insurance, and the (most) self-employed, pay the contribution in full themselves.
If you are an EU citizen, you can have the periods in which you made pension contributions in Germany counted towards your pension entitlement in your home country when you return. This is also the case if case if you are from a non-EU country with which Germany has signed a (social security) agreement. Periods in which you were insured there, or in another EU country, can also be added to your pension entitlement in Germany.
Depending on the length of time you were insured in Germany, you will normally receive the German pension. The minimum insurance period to qualify for a standard old-age pension is five years. Insurance periods completed in other EU member states and those countries with which Germany has a social security agreement can also be taken into account. In this case you will need to have been insured in Germany for at least one year.
You will normally receive the German pension even after you return to your home country. If not, you can generally have your pension contributions refunded.
If your home country is neither an EU member state nor one of the countries with which Germany has a social security agreement, the periods in which you paid German insurance contributions will not normally be taken into consideration there. In this case, you should check with your insurance provider at home to find out which regulations apply to you.
Good to know:
- As an employed researcher you will automatically have pension insurance. The contributions to your pension insurance will be deducted directly from your salary.
- If you do not have pension insurance due to your employment status – perhaps because you are on a scholarship, for example – you can always take out voluntary pension insurance. Seek advice from the Deutsche Rentenversicherung (German Pension Insurance) to find out whether this makes sense for you.
- Germany has social security agreements in place with more than 20 countries. These lay down the rules governing acquisition of pension rights and the payment of pensions. This means that the periods in which you made pension contributions in Germany may be counted towards your pension entitlement at home.
- People who work or have worked in different European countries are subject to European law. This governs for example how insurance contribution periods are added together to calculate your pension entitlement.
- You have to apply for payment of your pension. You can also submit your application to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung (German Pension Insurance) from abroad.