Pension scheme

International researchers employed by SDU can choose between 3 different pension schemes.

Each scheme has its advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to you as an individual to decide what solution is the most relevant for you.

Please note that there are certain conditions that must be fulfilled in order to be eligible for the different schemes.

If the personnel office at HR-services does not hear from you regarding your chosen option, we will automatically place you in the ordinary pension contribution scheme.

1. Ordinary pension contribution scheme

According to the collective agreement that covers all academic staff, SDU will transfer a monthly pension contribution to the relevant pension fund calculated as 17.1 % of the base salary + pensionable supplements. In relation to PhD fellows, the monthly contribution to the relevant pension fund will be calculated as 17.1 % of 85 % of your basic salary.

Your pension fund will depend on your educational background and the name of the relevant pension fund will appear on your payslip.

The following pension funds are relevant for scientific staff of the University of Southern Denmark:

  • AP-Pension – dairy engineers and business economists
  • Arkitekternes Pensionskasse – Architects
  • Danica - dentists
  • DIP/ISP – for engineers
  • JØP – for lawyers and economists
  • Lægernes Pensionskasse – for doctors
  • MP Pension (Unipension) – for MAs and MScs
  • Pharmadanmarks Pensionsordning – for pharmaceutical personnel
  • PJD – for agricultural academics and veterinary surgeons

In Denmark, pension contributions are exempt from taxation when they are paid into the pension fund. This means that you will not need to pay tax on pension contributions transferred to your pension fund. Instead, tax will be deducted when you request for your pension savings to be paid out.

If you choose to take out your pension savings when your employment ends, the current taxation rate is approximately 60 %. If you choose to take out your pension savings when you reach the age of retirement, the taxation rate will depend on your tax situation and the prevailing pension tax legislation of that time.

In connection with your pension contributions, you will find that your pension scheme is both a way of saving capital for your future and an insurance policy that comes into effect from the first day of your employment.

The insurance coverage consists of:

  1. Disability insurance which will provide you with financial security should you lose your ability to work.
  2. Partner/children´s pension which will provide your family with financial security in the event of your untimely death.

The insurance cover in relation to the ordinary pension contribution is flexible and can be arranged to match your personal situation. For more information you will need to contact your pension fund.

2. Ordinary pension contribution with taxation – section 53A of the pension taxation act.

Under this scheme, your employer will transfer a monthly pension contribution to the relevant pension fund, calculated as 17.1 % of your base salary + pensionable supplements. In relation to PhD fellows, the monthly contribution to the relevant pension fund is calculated as of 17.1 % of 85 % of your basic salary. However, when the pension contribution is made to your pension fund every month, it will be taxed immediately according to your current tax status. This means that every month you will pay tax on the monthly pension contribution.

If you are under the researcher taxation scheme with a flat rate of 26 % tax (plus 8 % labor market contribution), your pension contribution will be taxed at 31,92 % every month. If you are not eligible for the researcher taxation scheme, you will be taxed at the tax rate according to your Danish tax card. The taxation rate will typically vary between 37 and 42 %.

Whether you request your pension savings to be paid out at the end of your employment or you keep your savings in your Danish pension fund until you reach retirement age, all tax related to the pension that you earn while employed by the university will already have been paid. You can, therefore, take out the payout amount without paying any additional taxes.


If you are under the researcher taxation scheme during your stay in Denmark and choose to have a pension scheme; it makes sense to choose the ordinary pension scheme with taxation, as you probably never will get a lower tax rate.

In order to be eligible for section 53A:

  • You must be employed in accordance with the Collective Agreement concerning Academic Staff Employed by the State.
  • You must have a degree within one of the fields represented by one of the 5 pension funds listed below.

Contacts and further information

To receive advice on this important choice please contact the Pension fund relevant to your educational background:

MP Pension (pension fund for Danish M.A.’s, M.S.’s and PH.D.’s), Phone: +45 39 15 01 70, E-mail address:, Website:

JØP (Pension fund for Lawyers and Economists), Phone: +45 38 18 87 00, E-mail address:, Website:

DIP (Pension fund for Engineers), Phone: +45 82 33 00 00, E-mail address:, Website:

PFA Pension (Pension fund for librarians etc ), Phone: +45 70 12 50 00, Website:

Pharmadanmark (Pension fund for Pharmacists etc.), Phone: +45 39 46 36 00, E-mail address:, Website:

3. Pension exemption

The Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) have agreed on a new protocol that makes it possible for international researchers employed by SDU to be exempted from paying pension contributions.

This means that an amount equivalent to the pension contribution, calculated as 17.1 % of your base salary + pensionable supplements, will be paid out together with your monthly salary. This amount will be taxed according to your current taxation status, whether you are covered by the researcher taxation scheme of a flat rate of 26 % or taxed on the basis of ordinary income tax in Denmark.

In order to be eligible for pension exemption, you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Employment as a researcher, research assistant, PhD fellow, postdoc, assistant professor, associate professor or professor.
  • Non-Danish citizenship.
  • Fixed-term employment – maximum of five years.
  • Recruited from outside Denmark.

If your employment as a researcher at SDU is extended, or if you change your place of employment from SDU to another Danish university, the pension exemption will remain in effect for a maximum total term of normally five years.

The pension exemption agreement cannot be retroactive. This means that any pension contribution already made by SDU to the relevant pension fund is irreversible.

If you choose pension exemption instead of the ordinary pension contributions, you should be aware that you will not benefit from the insurance coverage that comes with the ordinary pension scheme. It is therefore advisable to consider taking up additional private insurance. You will only be covered by the mandatory group life insurance policy, which provides basic insurance in the event of critical illness or death.

You can read more here under 85034 Finansministeriet, Personalestyrelsen.

How to choose?

It is advisable that you consider what pension contribution you prefer prior to your employment. If you choose one scheme and want to change your choice at a later date, you must inform the personnel office at HR-services by filling the request form (see the link below).

We will then register the change, which can take effect from the following month´s salary payment. Please note that retroactive changes are impossible.
Please note that unless the personnel office at HR-services receives a completed pension form from you, you will automatically be placed in the ordinary pension contribution scheme.  

Read more about the rules and conditions here:

Internal Circular regarding the collective agreement for certain state-employed academics on fixed-term contracts for the non-payment of pension contribution.

Download this REQUEST FORM for payment/non-payment of pension contribution for academic employees on a fixed-term contract if your employment started prior to December 31st 2016.

Download this REQUEST FORM to choose or change your pension scheme if your employment started after January 1st 2017.


The information about pension schemes on this page does not constitute and cannot replace individual legal counselling. SDU strives to ensure that the information about pension schemes provided here is correct, but takes no accountability for mistakes or deficiencies.

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