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Pension schemes

As an international researcher employed by SDU you are covered by a mandatory pension scheme. SDU pays a total pension contribution of currently 17, 1 % of your pensionable salary. 

You can choose between 3 different pension schemes, but there are certain requirements that you must meet 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 applies to all academic staff, SDU will transfer a monthly pension contribution to the relevant pension fund.
Your pension fund will depend on your educational background and the name of the relevant pension fund will appear on your pay slip.

In Denmark, pension contributions are exempt from taxation when they are paid into the pension fund. This means that you will not pay taxes 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 and you leave Denmark, 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.

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 providing you with financial security should you lose the ability to work.
2. Spouse’s/cohabitant’s/children´s pension providing 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

On this scheme, SDU will also transfer a monthly pension contribution to the relevant pension fund.

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 out of your salary.

If you are under the researcher taxation scheme with a flat rate of 27 % tax (plus 8 % labor market contribution), your pension contribution will be taxed at approximately 32 % 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 paid out at the end of your employment or you keep your savings in your Danish pension fund until you reach the age of retirement, payment is free of tax. This means that you can take out your savings without having to pay any additional taxes.

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

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, and you must be placed in one of the 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:

AkademikerPension (used to be MP Pension), (pension fund for Danish M.A.’s, M.S.’s and PH.D.’s). Phone: +45 39 15 01 02, Email:, Website:

P+ pension (Fusion between JØP and DIP), (Pension fund for Lawyers, Engineers and Economists). Phone: +45 38 18 87 00, Email:, Website:

SAMpension (Pension fund for Agricultural Academics, Veterinary Surgeons, Architects, etc.). Phone: +45 77 33 18 77, 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, Email:, 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 your pension contribution 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 27 % or taxed on the basis of ordinary income tax in Denmark.

In order to be eligible for pension exemption, you must fulfill 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.

It is advisable that you consider which 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.

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 REQUEST FORM for selection or re-selection of pension scheme.

You can read more about the different schemes in this information material from DIP, JØP and MP Pension.

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.



Lifelong pension

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Work in Denmark

The Danish pension system

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Life in Denmark

Pension in Denmark

Click here

Need help?

Contact International Staff Office


Last Updated 07.12.2020