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Questions and answers about salaries

On behalf of academics, experts from the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers frequently answer questions about salaries. We have put together some questions for you.

Questions and answers about salaries© mark huls - Fotolia.com

Are professorships civil service posts and what is the pay like?

Professorships are often civil service posts. In many federal states, the state university laws also provide for cases in which civil service posts are created on a temporary or trial basis, particularly in the case of first-time jobs. Once they have been professionally assessed, they can then be given a professorship for life. For those who are past the age limit for being appointed to a civil service post, an internal appointment may be considered. The age limits also differ from state to state. Sometimes the limit is set at age 45, though one can still be appointed to a civil service post after one's 50th birthday in some states.

Professors' salaries are based on the W scale in the salary regulations. According to this, the pay of professors at universities and universities of applied sciences is set at levels W 2 and W 3. Salary levels are shown in the tables on, for example, the homepage of the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (Deutsche Hochschulverband).

Do the salaries at private universities differ from the national average?

Unfortunately, we are unable to give a simple answer about the extent to which salaries at private universities differ from average German W1 salaries. The pay at private universities can indeed differ quite considerably, depending on the location. However, in principle, it may be said that the pay at private universities is significantly higher than the gross W1 salary at public universities. Unfortunately, in terms of academics' career advice, we cannot provide further information or specific details of the various university locations. If you, for example, opt to become a member of the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers you could obtain personalised advice in terms of the specific professorships that are advertised.

Pay for interim professors

There is no statutory pay regulation, or collective bargaining agreement on pay, for interim professors. However, in practice pay is based on the salary scales for professors. The KMK (Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the German federal states) agreement states that interim professors may not be paid more than the professor they are standing in for. The details are usually regulated by a decree issued by the Ministry of Science and Research. These can vary from state to state.

How do I negotiate my salary?

The professorial pay scale indicated in the advertisement is always adhered to. An alternative is plausible if the advert has mentioned both W 2 and W 3 salaries. There is great flexibility for negotiating based on the W salary scale. Firstly, your salary demand depends on what you are currently earning. And then any extra depends on which federal state is involved, on the university, on the subject area and on the standing of the appointee.

What do junior professors earn?

Since the W salary scale was introduced, junior professors can no longer be paid performance bonuses as defined in Article 33 of the Federal Civil Service Remuneration Act (appointment and loyalty performance bonuses, particularly performance bonuses and function performance bonuses). However, this does not apply to another novelty in the W salary scale - according to Article 35 of the Federal Civil Service Remuneration Act, the federal state's law can permit professors who have obtained funding from private third parties for research projects or teaching projects at universities and who carry out that project, to be paid a non-pensionable supplement from those funds for as long as the third-party funding continues to flow. In line with the individual state's remuneration law, this option is also available to junior professors. A research and teaching bonus can only be paid from funds provided by private third parties. Such bonuses are not permitted in the case of public third-party funding projects (e.g. the German Research Foundation).
Whenever junior professors have proven themselves as university teachers, they also receive a non-pensionable supplement of 260 euros per month from the point at which their temporary civil service appointment is extended. Moreover, under Article 72 of the Federal Civil Service Remuneration Act, when a junior professor is first employed, their salary can be increased by a special supplement for reasons of efficiency and competitiveness. This type of special supplement may be paid if a particular position could not otherwise be filled as required in terms of professional qualifications and the situation vis-à-vis the need and the applicants, and if this specific case is required in order to fill the vacancy. In the case of junior professors, the special supplement may not exceed ten per cent of the basic salary per month.

What do I need to know about secondary employment?

Civil servants and employees of public authorities are basically entitled to take up secondary employment. In principle, authorisation is required for each secondary employment. The individual should apply for permission to hold secondary employment prior to taking up the secondary employment in question. In this context, it is usual that the individual must provide details of the nature and the scope of the secondary employment. Details of pay are also usually requested.

Permission may only be denied if it is feared that official interests will be negatively affected. This is particularly the case if the civil servant's or employee's secondary employment might conflict with their work duties or if the secondary employment demands too much of the individual. The latter case is usually assumed if the time taken up each week by the secondary employment exceeds 1/5 of the person's weekly working hours. Since professors are not subject to rules regarding the hours worked, what applies here is that the extent of the secondary employment ought not to exceed one working day per week (where relevant, based on a yearly average). There are numerous exemptions from the principle that permission is required, for example artistic activities or those related to writing, research and giving talks.

The same applies to any work done as an independent expert relating to teaching and research roles. However, where secondary employment does not require permission, there is often a duty of disclosure. The details of secondary employment law are regulated, for example, by the pertinent secondary employment laws issued by the federal states.

academics.com :: March 2008