Social security insurance

Social security insurance is generally governed by law and includes health insurance, pension insurance, unemployment insurance, accident insurance and nursing care insurance. If you have an employment contract with Goethe University, it is compulsory for you to have insurance cover with a health insurance, pension insurance, unemployment insurance, and nursing care insurance fund. In Germany, the social security contributions are set by law. Employers and employees each pay half of the contributions, which amount in total to approximately 40% of the gross salary. The employee must pay an additional 0.9% of their gross salary as an additional health insurance contribution. Employees without children pay a further contribution surplus of 0.25% of their gross salary into the nursing care insurance fund. The employer alone is responsible for making contributions to the accident insurance fund. You can find further information on this from EURAXESS.

If you are financed with a scholarship or via your employer in your home country, you are generally exempted from the requirement to make social security contributions – with the exception of health insurance premiums, for which you as a scholarship holder are also liable.

If you have signed an employment contract with Goethe University, the university will take the necessary steps to register you with a social security fund. You will be registered with your chosen health insurance company, which will then advise the social security agencies accordingly. After completing the registration process, you will receive an insurance number from the pension insurance agency and an insurance record book. The employer is responsible for paying the contributions and for deducting the contributions at source from each salary payment.

The pension insurance agency is part of the social security system as defined by law. Statutory pension insurance premiums are deducted at source from your gross salary; you do not have to do anything in this respect. EU Member States or Social Security Agreement partners must take the insurance periods that have been completed in Germany into account when checking pension entitlements. Insurance periods from a country with which the Federal Republic of Germany has not signed a Social Security Agreement cannot be calculated together with the German insurance periods in order to meet entitlement requirements. If in the course of your career you have worked in various countries and have paid contributions into the respective social security systems, you should contact the insurance agencies in the individual States to find out what your entitlements are. For researchers´ mobilities within the EU you will find a lot of useful information on the following web pages: www.findyourpension.eu.  Please note that the minimum period for which an individual must have worked in order to attain pension entitlements may differ from one country to the next. If you return to a country that has no social security agreement with Germany, then you can have the pension contributions that you paid in Germany reimbursed. After a waiting period of two years, you can submit an application to the German Pension Agency for reimbursement of the contributions. Questions and Answers on pensions abroad.

The University, as your employer, offers supplementary pension insurance alongside the compulsory public pension insurance. For more information see the Versorgungsanstalt des Bundes und der Länder (VBL).

Unemployment insurance is another social security contribution system prescribed by law. It provides insurance cover for unemployed people. Those who have an entitlement (i.e. who have worked in Germany immediately before becoming unemployed and who have had employment with compulsory unemployment insurance for at least 360 days during the last 3 years) and who are active job seekers are entitled to receive German unemployment payments. Previous employment periods in EU Member States /EEA States and Switzerland can be considered. The unemployment insurance premiums are deducted directly at source from your salary. You do not need to do anything in this respect. To find out to what extent the contribution periods in Germany can be recognised by unemployment agencies in other countries, please contact the authority in the respective country. If you return to a country that does not have a Social Security Agreement with Germany, it is not possible to draw German unemployment benefits from there. The contributions cannot be reimbursed. See here for further information on unemployment insurance and unemployment benefits (link available only in German).

Information and comprehensive overview of the social security system in Germany: Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales: Social Security at a Glance.