Postdoc salary Germany
Postdoc salaries – what do Postdocs earn?
Many postdocs are academic staff working at a university or research institution. Their salary is not generous, but much better than that of doctoral students.
Which collective agreements regulate the salary of postdocs in Germany?
Many postdocs are employed as researchers at a university or non-university research institution. They are therefore civil servants and their salary is governed by a collective agreement. Depending on the institution, this is either based on the collective agreement for civil service (TVoeD) or the collective agreement for the civil service in the individual federal states (TV-L). As the state of Hesse is not a member of the other federal states' collective bargaining community, it has its own collective agreement for its employees, the TV-H. The employee ratio is the most common income option for postdocs. Advanced postdocs who have their "own job"or work as junior research group leaders are also hired as researchers. In principle, it is also possible to finance a scholarship. Some state doctorate posts provide an official position as an academic advisor which usually has a limited term and is remunerated according to salary grade A13.
Which pay bands apply to postgraduates in Germany?
The TVoeD, the TV-L as well as the TV-H specify 15 pay bands based on professional qualifications. Postgraduates' salaries are categorised into pay bands 13–15. If you are just entering the postgraduate phase, you are usually paid according to pay band 13. In contrast, junior staff and research group leaders usually receive a salary according to pay bands 14 or 15, as they have more responsibility. A differentiation is made within the pay bands on the basis of experience levels.
Which levels of experience are used to classify postdocs?
The professional experience of researchers in general and postdocs can vary widely. Pay band 13 includes people who have only just accepted a doctoral candidate position and seasoned postdocs with many years of research experience. For this reason, employers also differentiate by experience levels. Since 2018, not only the TvoeD, but also the TV-L and the TV-H distinguish between six levels of experience, each with increasing time spent at each stage. Level 1 is reserved for newcomers to the respective pay band and must be fully completed during a single employment contract. Since time spent as a doctoral candidate is included, Level 1 is less common for postdocs.
Levels of experience in collective agreements and when postdocs reach these levels
Experience level postdoc
Professional experience as a postdoc (including periods as a research assistant during the doctorate)
What happens when an individual moves to a higher pay band?
If, for example, a postdoc is appointed as head of a junior research group they will, as a rule, be moved up to a higher pay band. This would actually mean starting again at experience Level 1, and in many cases this would result in a loss of salary. However, the collective agreements ensure this cannot happen, and the institutions classify employees in such a way that they are paid at least the same salary as previously.
What is the salary of postgraduates in Germany?
The collective bargaining agreements for civil servants are renegotiated once every one or two years. These negotiations involve better conditions for employees and, in particular, a decent salary increase. The amounts shown in the tables apply to a full-time position. For part-time jobs with 50% hours worked, the salary is halved.
Postgraduate salaries at federal and local institutions in Germany: TVoeD
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Are there other benefits for postdocs in Germany apart from the salary?
Employed postdocs receive a special annual payment like all their colleagues in the civil service. The special payment amount depends on the applicable collective agreement and whether the employee works in an old or new federal state. It amounts to between 33%–60% of their average monthly salary. Postdocs who have children, work in Hesse and fall under the TV-H also receive a child allowance in addition to their salary. According to the collective agreements, additional benefits may also be available in connection with special services, such as the procurement of third-party funds. However, the various federal states take very different approaches to this opportunity.
Will the experience level change if an employee moves to a different research institution? If postdocs, for example, change institutions for a new research project, they will usually retain their experience level with the time spent at this level so far. There have been some improvements in this area in recent years, particularly when switching between different collective bargaining agreements. You will need to send a request to the new employer to ensure that this professional experience is recognised. If it is difficult to find a suitable candidate for the position in question, the facilities may even accommodate further requests by their future employees. This may involve moving them to a higher group or at least a guarantee that the institution will move the employee to the next experience level at an earlier date. As collective agreements specify a wide range of different salaries, switching between different collective agreements and levels of experience can result in a loss of wages. As a postdoc, it is therefore advisable to check your prospective salary before switching to a new public employer.
Will my experience level change as a result of a stay abroad, break or temporary unemployment?
Collective bargaining for public servants is not particularly compatible with the professional reality of scientists. For example, periods when scientists are not employed by a public-sector employer, e.g. working in the private sector for several years, may be regarded as a "harmful interruption". They may even be downgraded to a lower experience level. This does not usually apply to employees who teach or conduct research at a foreign research institution and are employed for this purpose. This period of time is deemed to be relevant professional experience and is credited towards the respective time spent at each level.
Periods without employment which are financed by a grant are only considered to be "beneficial" rather than "relevant" in the eyes of public employers. The institution is therefore not required to take it into consideration when determining the individual's experience level. The qualifying time spent at each stage is not interrupted when a postdoc takes maternity or paid leave. Periods of incapacity up to a maximum of 39 weeks are not deducted from qualifying time. Things work differently with parental leave: This is considered an interruption of the qualifying time and are not applicable for the employee's move to the next experience level.
academics - July 2018
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