Social insurance for employees
If you have a contract of employment with Saarland University or one of the on-campus research institutes, you will have to pay social insurance contributions. Social insurance contributions are made up of a number of compulsory insurance payments that are withheld automatically from your salary:
In Germany all employees must have health insurance cover. Depending on your income, you will either take out mandatory health insurance cover with a statutory health insurance provider or, if your income is high enough, you may choose private health insurance.
Statutory health insurance funds
Statutory health insurance provides insurance cover for family members without requiring higher premiums to be paid. Specifically, it provides health cover for children as well as for a non-working spouse or a spouse with a low monthly income. The cover provided includes medical and dental examinations and treatment at a registered medical or dental practitioner of your choice. The costs of medication and medical supplies are also covered though additional prescription charges may be applicable. Insured persons are also covered for all necessary hospital care.
You will find three providers of statutory health insurance on campus.
Private health insurance
The scope of cover provided by private health insurance companies and the premiums to be paid are not stipulated by law and large variations exist. As a rule, the minimum cover from a private insurance provider is equal to the cover provided by statutory insurance funds. While the quality of medical cover provided by a private insurer is generally better and no surcharges are made, monthly premiums are higher. As private health insurance companies can choose their members, they often require that applicants present the results of a medical examination before taking out a health insurance policy with them. Restrictions may apply to the private insurance cover offered to foreigners working in Germany with respect to pre-existing medical conditions or pregnancy. Please be aware when selecting a health insurance provider that it may not be possible to switch from a private health insurance company to a statutory health insurance fund at some later date. This could be potentially relevant if you stay in Germany after your contract has expired.
Retirement/pension scheme payments
Half of your pension plan contributions are paid by your employer (Saarland University or on-campus research institute) and half are paid by you. When calculating the annuity to be paid on retirement, the payments made in Germany will be taken into account by other EU member states, by countries in the EEA as well as by countries with which Germany has signed a social security agreement. A list of these countries can be found on the website of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung – Germany's national pension insurance institute.
In Germany, the pension system consists of three parts: state, occupational and supplementary private pensions. General information on the German pension system can be found on the Find Your Pension website under the heading "Pension Landscapes".
Unemployment insurance payments are shared by both employer and employee. You will be eligible to receive unemployment benefit if you have worked in Germany and paid unemployment insurance contributions for at least twelve months during the three years prior to the benefit claim. In certain circumstances, you can apply to continue to receive your German unemployment benefit payments while looking for work in another EU Member State for a period of up to three months. To do this you must have been registered unemployed at least four weeks before leaving Germany.
Long-term care insurance
Long-term care insurance is designed to provide cover for long-term nursing care needs. Policies are taken out jointly together with health insurance cover. Long-term care insurance payments are shared by both employer and employee. The obligation to have long-term care insurance may be waived if you bring health insurance cover with you from your home country.