I have a PhD acceptance letter from an institute in Germany. They have written that my salary would be according to TVöD (collective salary scheme for the German public service).
I searched about that, but there are different ideas.
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The following answer applies to all public-service salary schemes (TVöD, TV-L, TV-H, etc.) that apply to PhD students. The information that is most likely missing is:
Your class (Entgeltgruppe): PhD students typically paid according to class 13, which is the lowest class for people with a master’s degree or equivalent. As even postdoc positions with class 14 are extremely rare, it’s safe to assume that this is your class if no further information is given.
Your level (Stufe): Unless you worked in German public service on this level before, you will have the following progression of levels:
Now, the offer will have to state how much you are officially working. It’s usually somewhere between 50 % and 75 %, but may also be 100 % – this mostly depends on your field. This should give you all you need to obtain your gross salary (brutto) from the tables or calculators.
Keep in mind that taxes and insurance will be deduced from this, which depends on several aspects such as whether you are married, have children, whether you will use the German retirement provision (VBL) etc. However, a considerable portion of the taxes will actually be to your direct benefit (health insurance, retirement provision, etc.) and things that you would pay with your salary in many other countries.
More information is required to answer your question. However, I want to give some basic information.
Where are you employed? The TVöD consists of several categories, e.g., the TV-L (afaik used by most universities) as well as TVöD-Bund (used by some publicly funded non-university institutes (e.g., Fraunhofer)). Ask your employer for this information if it was not provided to you, yet.
Do you have a 100% contract / full time job? Depending on you employer and region in Germany, this might differ. I know guys who have a 50% contract, thus, there is 50% payment for 50% time. (Please note, that you will still be expected to be at your institute like a full-time employee).
(When are you going to start? The labor unions will negotiate an updated salary in beginning of 2018. So you might finally end up with a few more percent.)
You will most likely start at E13 in Level 1, as this is the standard payment for PhD candidates. There you can find a table for TVöD-Bund: http://oeffentlicher-dienst.info/c/t/rechner/tvoed/bund?id=tvoed-bund-2017i&matrix=1
So at E13 Level 1 at a 100% employment you will start with 3657.34€/month gross income. (Net income will be somewhere slightly above 2000€, depending on taxes).