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Retirement is a form of age-related exemption from the duty to carry out everyday business ( discharge ).


The word derives from the Latin verb emerēre or its form in the deponent emerēri (of MERITUM from "salary") that is both a right to acquire a claim on something located and serve out, getting old / useless means.

In the church area

Roman Catholic Church

Of retirement one speaks with bishops and Domkapitularen within the Catholic Church , most recently in 2013, when Pope Benedict XVI. A bishop emeritus (former bishop) is, if he has officiated as a diocesan bishop , released from the diocesan leadership tasks, but retains all rights due to his episcopal ordination , which is indelebilis as a sacrament of consecration . The latter applies equally to auxiliary bishops . For example, a bishop emeritus can continue to give Confirmation and the Sacrament of Orders. After reaching the age of 75, Roman Catholic bishops are obliged to ask the Pope to resign. As Bishop of Rome, the Pope is exempt from this regulation, but canon law provides that the Pope can retire himself.

Protestant church

An out-of-service regional bishop is also referred to as a bishop emeritus. In contrast to Catholic bishops, there is no maximum age there.

In higher education


The activity of university lecturers was originally understood as a career for life. However, since careers in public administration have emerged, their passing has been regulated in the manner of other civil servants. For the first time, professors in Prussia were excluded from the general regulation in 1825.

Retirement is not the same as retirement . Professors who in Germany in front of a (depending on the state have been called different) date, enjoy a special Emeritierungsrecht: You will receive a higher retirement pension, about the grade equivalent before entering the retirement. Instead of retiring, professors can also retire. In contrast to professors emeritus, a retired professor no longer has any official duties ; For example, he can immediately stop supervising doctoral students . The emeritus, however, retains his science-related academic rights. He can, for example, continue to undertake business trips, give lectures , advise students and hold academic exams .

A professor emeritus (Emeritus , abbreviation: em.) Or a professor emeritus (Emerita) is in partial retirement and has acquired the right to withdraw from certain everyday duties of a professorship after retiring. These concern tasks within the framework of university self-administration; if necessary, he or she gives back his seat or his voting rights in the Senate or Faculty Council. He does not have to give any more courses, but can continue to do so. By arrangement, he can still use a duty room and the infrastructure to continue research work or to start new ones. In addition, an emeritus may supervise graduate theses, doctorates or habilitation theses and be a member of academic (but not state) examination commissions, appointment commissions and other commissions. Like a retired professor, he can also prepare reports, for example for courts or public prosecutors.

Although the retirement is basically regulated by state law, it was abolished under federal law by the University Framework Act in the second half of the 1970s for professors appointed after a certain deadline by giving the states a corresponding legislative mandate. Professors who were appointed before a certain deadline enjoy the right of emeritus. Pursuant to Sections 76 (1) and 72 (1) of the University Framework Act in the version of January 26, 1976, the point in time determined by state law is decisive, with a transition period of three years from the entry into force of §§ 72 for the entry into force of the new service law in the federal states , 76 HRG applied. In North Rhine-Westphalia (which incidentally did not implement the legislative mandate of the University Framework Act in time), for example, the appointment before January 1, 1980 is decisive, in Lower Saxony the appointment before October 1, 1978. However, there are only office holders who meet this requirement very few yet.

Since the group of university professors who are still eligible for retirement in the traditional sense just described is naturally becoming ever smaller, the words emeritierung , emeritieren , emeritus and emerita are now increasingly used for retired professors (retired professors). used. This is based on the idea that retired university professors (analogous to the handling of senior clergymen) continue to retain the right to teach at their university (venia legendi) and to take exams according to most German university laws. This is where they differ from retired members of most other apprenticeships, such as B. the grammar school teachers, but also from retired judges, administrative officials, soldiers, etc., who after retirement are no longer allowed to carry out any work related to their profession. The rights to research, teach and take academic examinations are rights that play a central role in university life and can be compared with the right to perform certain cultic acts that belong to the emeritus members of the higher clergy. Nevertheless, the linguistic usage that has now arisen, according to which retired university professors are said to be retired, is not legally correct, as this blurs the boundaries between emeriti in the traditional sense and retired professors - mostly for reasons of status. Even the handling of the title does not provide a reliable basis for this, since all professors according to the relevant university laws regularly state their official title or their academic degree without additions such as a. D. (out of service) or i. R. (retired) are allowed to continue.



The retirement is a permanent release of a civil servant university professor from the fulfillment of the official duties, in particular the teaching obligation. It replaces the retirement of the civil servant. In the past, the law stipulated that professors emeritus received higher salaries than retired professors.

Professors who are not civil servants but employees cannot retire, but retire.

Retirement with legal entitlement

Persons who were appointed full professor before March 1, 1998 will retire on October 1, which follows their 68th birthday. At their request, they will retire on October 1st, which follows their 66th or 67th birthday. If these professors want to retire from active service earlier, they do not have the option of retirement, but only the option of being retired.

Retirement without legal entitlement

Other permanent university professors will be retired on October 1st, following their 65th birthday. In certain cases, however, the service authority cannot grant them retirement until one, two or a maximum of three years later.


In Switzerland the situation differs from university to university. As long as there is no space problem at the chair, a professor emeritus can still use an office. However, if space becomes too scarce, a professor emeritus can be advised to give up the office of a new teacher.


Some law firms or tax consultancy firms use the term for partners who have left active management.

See also


  • Michael Hartmer in: Christian Flämig u. a. (Ed.): Handbuch des Wissenschaftsrechts. Vol. 1, 2nd edition, Springer, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-540-61129-0 , pp. 534-536.
  • Andreas Reich: Bavarian University Teachers Act. Comment. 2nd edition, Bock, Bad Honnef 2000, ISBN 3-87066-776-1 , pp. 270-276 (on Art. 38).

Web links

Wiktionary: retirement  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Benedict XVI .: Declaratio., February 11, 2013, accessed May 3, 2017 (translation from Latin).
  2. Duden Emerita
  3. See §§ 42 ff., 72, 76 HRG
  4. See Sections 76 (1) HRG, 134 (1) LBG NRW, 119, 144 WissHG NRW in the version of November 20, 1979
  5. See Section 76 (1) HRG, Section 153, 177 NHG in the version dated June 1, 1978
  6. Section 163 (5) BDG 1979
  7. § 163 BDG 1979