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I've been selected for a PhD position in a medical school at Lower Saxony in a DFG Transregio Collaborative Research Project. Even though I'm yet to receive my contract, I am curious to know if my salary will be according to the DFG payscale or the institute payscale (which is significantly lower than the DFG payscale)? My supervisor unofficially told me the scale would be 65% TVöD E-13, but he expects the salary might be between 1350 -1450 € per month for the first year (isn't that lower than 65% TVöD E-13?). On comparing with the DFG pay scale table 2021 (and after reading the first paragraph, of course), I want to know what salary can I actually expect in hand after tax deductions (I'm supposed to have some pension scheme, which I know nothing about)? Would the money be sufficient for 2 people in Hannover if I take my spouse with me? What % of salary will I be able to save, if at all? Thank you.

P.S.: I'm very new to the German system and hence request to guide me. Any obvious issue which I don't know/haven't mentioned in my question can be happily addressed to give me an idea of my upcoming years.

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Finding out about your salary in a TV-L or TV-ÖD setting is pretty straightforward. For TV-ÖD you can simply look it up here (note that Jochen Glueck's link in the comments refers to the table for 2020). Net salary for a 65% position would roughly be 1754.40 €. While the final amount depends on some personal factors (such as Steuerklasse), it should not be as low as suggested by your supervisor.

Now, the table provided by the DFG (you're probably referring to this one?) is not suitable to find out about your final salary, as is stated in that document ("Für die Ermittlung der persönlichen Vergütung sind sie weder vorgesehen noch geeignet"). This table gives numbers to be assumed as the Arbeitgeberbrutto, which corresponds to the amount of money your employer has to pay and is thus higher than the gross salary you receive. The purpose of this table mainly is to serve as a basis for calculating personnel costs in project proposals etc.

Whether your salary is sufficient for two people to live in Hannover completely depends on your expenses. The highest share of your income will probably be needed for rent, you can do a search for flats on the internet to get an idea. The university and/or Studierendenwerk should have an international office that may assist with further questions on living in Germany.

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    To add some more, probably helpful, information: TVöD, as can be seen here depends on: your work experience (Stufe, you might need to provide some details to your employer's HR, they would calculate what's applicable as experience), your taxes depend on your martial status -- Are you married? Do you have kids? Does your spouse work? Some "splitting" in who of both pays more taxes can be done (Lohnsteuerklasse). Sep 27 at 9:53
  • Very good answer (and much more informative than my comments under the question, which I have thus deleted). Sep 27 at 12:51
  • Can someone please illustrate about the pension scheme? What is that? Are you still considered a student if you are eligible for a pension scheme?
    – user110134
    Sep 27 at 16:39
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    @user110134 Much more information is needed to say sth. meaningful about the pension scheme. (EU citizien? Planning to work for a longer period in Germany/EU?) For a PhD, I would say this should be the least of your concerns.
    – user151413
    Sep 27 at 22:13
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The DFG numbers say how much the DFG is giving through a grant, such as a CRC, for a PhD position applied for. This doesn't mean the university has to pay the same level (i.e. percentage of E13) to their students - they can pay more or less if they want to.

So you have to take whatever you are told (i.e. 65% E13) and use one of the available calculators (see erc's answer) to determine your net salary. (As a PhD student, you will get Stufe 1.) Whether this enough to live with 2 people in Hannover: I'd say yes, but it clearly depends on your standards. (Note that if you are married and your partner does not work, you should get tax class 3 which should get you some extra money, almost 2000€ net.)

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