Social security is mandatory when working in Germany. This includes health, nursing, pension, unemployment and accident insurance. Scholarship holders are generally exempt from paying social security – with the exception of health and nursing insurance.
Social security contributions are deducted from your gross salary. Once you have signed your employment contract, BTU will take the necessary steps to register you for social security. After you are registered with the City Administration Office, you will receive a social security card by mail that includes either your social security or pension insurance number. As soon as you have received this number, please inform the personnel department at BTU. Your employer (BTU) is responsible for transferring all social security contributions, which will be automatically deducted from your monthly salary and visible on your monthly statements.
For all statutory health insurance, a uniform contribution rate is applied, which is paid equally by the employer and employee. Additionally, depending on the health insurance, there is a small additional contribution that is paid shared by both employer and employee. Statutory health insurance benefits are fixed by the state. However, there are some differences in coverage, for example, when it comes to supplementary contributions, additional services, elective tariffs and customer service. You can sign up for whichever health insurance you want, but must inform the personnel department of your choice.
When you go to the doctor or hospital, all costs incurred will be charged directly to your health insurance. You also do not have to pay for any visits to your doctor! All you have to do is show your insurance card. If your spouse or children are coming with you to Germany, under certain circumstances, they too can be insured (family insurance) without further costs. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Welcome Centre.
Nursing insurance is linked to your health insurance and is automatically included in your monthly payments. Nursing insurance helps those who are in need of long-term medical care, for example, people who depend on others for daily assistance. Nursing insurance contributions are automatically deducted from your gross salary and are paid equally by the employer and employee. Employees without children must pay an additional small surcharge, which is also taken out of their gross salary.
Pension insurance is an important part of the social welfare system in Germany. Typically, all employees pay a fixed percentage of their salary to the statutory pension insurance as long as they are employed. After turning 65 (soon to be 67), when you retire, you will receive state support (pension) to finance your cost of living. The pension system in Germany consists of three pillars. In addition to statutory pension insurance, there are also professional and private pension insurances.
State Pension Insurance
When you begin working at BTU, the personnel department will report your status directly to the pension insurance. Contributions are automatically deducted from your gross salary and transferred to the pension insurance. Both employer and employee pay equal amounts to the pension insurance.
Company Pension Insurance
At BTU, there is also a company pension scheme in which all employees are automatically enrolled. This means that as a salaried employee, both you and BTU (as employer), pay a fixed amount to the company pension plan. The company pension provider at BTU is the Federal and State Pension Fund (VBL). On the homepage of the VBL you can find detailed information about this pension insurance.
Unemployment insurance is available to those without work, so that they still have a secure income while unemployed. Unemployment insurance is deducted directly from your gross salary and is paid equally by the employer and employee.
All employees in Germany are covered by statutory accident insurance. This insurance covers all accidents that occur both in the workplace as well as when traveling to and from work. Furthermore, occupational diseases are also insured. BTU employees are compulsorily insured through the Unfallkasse Brandenburg. Contributions are fully paid by the employer. Please note that as soon as an accident occurs, or in the case of an accident on your way to or from work, you should go to a specialist (Durchgangsarzt) as soon as possible and fill out an accident report (Unfallanzeige, Intranet).
If you do not have an employment contract, you are typically not required to pay social security. However, you will still need to pay for health insurance, which also includes nursing insurance.
Only in exceptional circumstances can doctoral students who are not from the EU or the European Economic Area be insured through a statutory health insurance. However, you do have the option to insure yourself using a private health insurance provider. There are some very cheap private providers, but they usually do not cover all services, for example, pregnancy, dental treatment or mental illness. The Welcome Centre is happy to advise you on what you should look for when signing up for private insurance.
Exceptions for EU nationals
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is limited, which is why it is advisable to sign up for additional health insurance if you are staying in Germany for a longer period of time. This is because the EHIC only covers necessary medical services, which is decided by the doctor.
Registered students are insured through the statutory accident insurance. However, if you are not enrolled at BTU or have an employment contract, you may not be covered by the university and would have to cover accident insurance yourself. The Welcome Centre would be happy to provide you with individual advise.