I am currently doing my PhD in Switzerland. Since my professor recently get a job in Germany and will move the whole lab there, I need to go with her. That brings up to the question of working experience on the table. Both in Switzerland and Germany, the salary increase with the year of PhD. However, I am not sure if I move to Germany I would be counted as the level starting from the first year or they will consider the time I already had in Switzerland. Anyone has related experience?

  • 2
    It seems to me that the answer is known by your current University / supervisor / funding agency. I would ask them rather than SE
    – Alchimista
    Feb 18, 2021 at 11:43
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    Assuming you are not in your first year and will become an employee of a German university, you will be payed according to the TVL table and they should count every full year up to the respective experience level as experience. This most likely means you'll start at level 2 since you would need three years of experience for level 3. Usually, you will then need to stay two years on this level before reaching level 3. You could try negotiating that experience beyond one year counts as progress towards level 3 but our administration wouldn't agree to this.
    – user9482
    Feb 18, 2021 at 11:45
  • @Roland This is only automatic for time spent in German public service. It is likely they will count time spent abroad during the PhD, but by no means automatic. Also, AFAIK the time with in the level is not even counted when transferring within public service, so I think chances are very slim even existent at all.
    – user151413
    Mar 2, 2021 at 23:50
  • @Alchimista Asking here can help to know what one might, or might not, push the administration to. Especially since the supervisor might also not yet have experience with that.
    – user151413
    Mar 2, 2021 at 23:53
  • @user151413 sure, I get that. And in all cases I would dig for the chance to keep the Swiss salary. This seems to me the most logic thing. However, if the move of my supervisor would have happened in my case, formally I would have had to follow him leaving my country 1 salary. I was payed as university assistant and not as PhD student. But as that move was planned, being him a good boss, it would have resulted in a better or similar pay for everyone. Of course, the situation can vary greatly from case to case.
    – Alchimista
    Mar 3, 2021 at 9:30

1 Answer 1


You will have to ask the administration, or ask your advisor to ask the administration. Unless you transfer within Germany, this is decided on a per-case basis. But in principle, if you have equivalent experience to the current position (which you do), this should be feasible. However, as also pointed out in the comments, you will only get the corresponding level, but with all likelihood you won't get the runtime within the level counted. It might help if you add how much time you spent on your PhD in Switzerland at the point at which you will move.

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