Standard pension level

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The standard pension level (also simply pension level ) reflects the ratio between the standard pension (also known as the corner pension ) and the average income .


The pension level reflects the ratio of a statutory pension from the statutory pension insurance to the average wages of employees . The ratio indicates the relative amount of a regular old-age pension with exactly 45 earnings points (standard pension ) compared to the current average income of the employed .

The pension level shows, especially over time, how strongly the pensions develop in relation to the wages. The development of the pension level is significantly influenced by the pension adjustment formula , as it determines the extent to which pensions increase in relation to wages. But other factors, such as changes in the social security contribution rates, also have an impact on pension levels.


The pension level can be as

  • Gross pension level,
  • Net pension level (gross pension level minus downstream taxation)
    • until 2004 net pension level (after taxes)
    • from 2005 net pension level before taxes

can be specified.

Gross pension level

The gross pension level sets the gross standard pension in relation to the average gross earnings for the same year.

Net pension level

The net pension level sets a standard pension minus the social security contributions (health and long-term care insurance) in relation to the average earnings in the same year, minus the average social security contributions and taxes.

With the Old Age Assets Supplementation Act, the changeover to the subsequent taxation of the statutory pension insurance began in 2005. Therefore, the net pension level has not been used since 2005. Instead, the standard net pre-tax pension level has been used since then.

From 2019, the calculation was changed by the RV Performance Improvement and Stabilization Act . Since 2019, the pension is now on July 1 of the year minus social security contributions in relation to the average available earnings of the previous year, which is multiplied with the wage development and the change in the social contribution quota to be borne by the employees. See the section on calculation .

Pre-tax pension level

Since 2005, only the pre-tax pension level has been shown - officially "Pre-tax security level " in accordance with Section 154 (3) sentence 1 number 2. This sets an available standard pension in relation to the average earnings available in the same calendar year. The only deductible from the pension and remuneration is contributions to social insurance and additional pension schemes. For the pre-tax pension level, taxes are disregarded for both the pension and the earnings. Since from 2005 to 2040 each year of pensioners (depending on the year of pension entry) has to pay tax on an increasing portion of the pension, the calculation of the net level (after tax) is no longer possible in a uniform manner.


The pre-tax pension level for 2018 is calculated as follows:


The higher the standard pension, the higher the pension level and vice versa. This results from real numbers for 2018:


The standard pension is the product of the current pension value , the 45 earnings points that result from the payment into the pension fund for an average income over 45 years, the access factor and the pension type factor , both of which are 1 for the basic pension . To calculate the pension level, the standard pensions for the six months of the first and second half of the year are added together.

Example for 2018: gross standard pension = 45 earnings points × 6 months × (€ 31.03 pension value for the 1st half year + € 32.03 pension value for the 2nd half year ) = € 17,026.20.

For the available standard pension, the contributions of the pensioners to the statutory social insurance are deducted from the annual standard pension. For 2017, these are the general contribution to health insurance of 7.3% (2018), the average additional contribution to health insurance of 1.0%, the contribution to long-term care insurance 2.55% and a quarter of the additional contribution to long-term care insurance for childless people of 0, 25%. Together, this results in a deduction of 10.9125% for 2018. The available standard pension was therefore € 15,168.22 in 2017.

The average wage , so an average gross annual income is 37,873 € per year 2018th

For the average wage available , the average wage due to the average social security contributions including the average expense for additional old-age provision as determined by the national accounts of the Federal Statistical Office are deducted. The exact value has not been published, but in 2018 it was around 16.7% and thus significantly below the regular employee contribution of a fully legally insured employee, as the income of civil servants as well as from insurance-free mini-jobs or from non-contributory remuneration components are included in the calculation. The average wage available in 2018 was around € 31,535. Dividing the standard pension by the average earnings results in a gross pension level of 44.7%. Dividing the available standard pension by the available average earnings results in a gross pension level of 48.2%.

The net pension level (after taxes), i.e. after deduction of social security contributions and taxes, is even higher, since taxes on higher income (here wages) are relatively higher than on lower pensions. For 2004, all three pension levels were shown for the last time. The gross pension level was 48.6%, net before tax 53.0% and net after tax 67.9%.

Development of the pension level since 1957

Development of the pension level

The standard pension level has developed very differently since the introduction of the dynamic statutory pension in 1957. The pre-tax level has been falling continuously since the 1970s. In 2002 the gross level was 48.3%, the net level before taxes was 52.9%. According to an estimate by Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, the standard pension level in January 2018 was 45.0% (gross standard pension level) and 48.1% ("before taxes").

As a result of various reforms, in particular the Retirement Assets Supplementation Act in 2001 and the RV Sustainability Act in 2004 , the level of benefits provided by the statutory pension insurance will fall by around 20% by 2030. The minimum security level for the net pre-tax pension level is 46% up to 2020 and 43% up to 2030. If this minimum target is seen as endangered in the pension insurance projections, the legislature must take action (§154 SGB VI). For this reason, it was decided in 2006 that the standard retirement age for an old-age pension should be raised to 67 by 2029. Due to the fact that the payout period is generally reduced by two years, the sustainability factor in the pension adjustment formula leads to a somewhat lower reduction in the pension level and thus no longer jeopardizes the minimum security target for the time being.

After the 2017 federal election , the CDU , CSU and SPD agreed in their exploratory talks to Template: future / in 5 yearsfix the pension level at 48% by 2025 . With the Pension Insurance Performance Improvement and Stabilization Act , the coalition of CDU / CSU and SPD presented a corresponding draft law on August 28, 2018, which will stabilize the level to at least 48% and the contribution to a maximum of 22% by 2025.

Level of care in the partially privatized old-age pension system

Since the Riester and Rürup reforms, the federal government has established the pension level or the overall pension level as a term in addition to the pension level . The income (net before tax or net after tax) from the statutory pension and other (state-sponsored) pension products is set in relation to the average salary. According to the Federal Government, the performance level in the “three-pillar model” (statutory pension, Riester pension, company pension plan) is to be represented analogously to the pension level. The (overall) pension level must be distinguished from the pension level. In the view of the Federal Government, the overall pension level has reached the previous pension level according to its model calculations. However, this representation by the federal government is sometimes criticized as inaccurate, for example Ingo Schäfer from the Bremen Chamber of Employees or Johannes Steffen from Portal Sozialpolitik.


Internationally, Germany was in 2017 with the expected pension level (in% of net income) of 50.5%, well below the OECD average. Croatia (129.2%) and the Netherlands (100.6%) even have a higher pension level compared to net income. It is followed by Portugal (94.9%), Italy (93.2%), Austria (91.8%), Hungary (89.6%), Bulgaria (88.9%) and Luxembourg (88.4%). The EU-28 average was 70.6%, the OECD average 62.9%.


  • Jutta Schmitz, Ingo Schäfer: The pension level. Measurement methods, influencing factors and misinterpretations. In: Social Security 1/2018, No. 1, 2018, ISSN  0490-1630 , pp. 21-25.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jutta Schmitz and Ingo Schäfer (2018): Socio-political classification: The pension level. Measurement methods, influencing factors and misinterpretations, in Soziale Sicherheit 1/2018, pp. 21-25.
  2. Ingo Schäfer (2018): What the RV performance improvement and stabilization law brings. In: Social Security 8–9 / 2018, page 328
  3. The GroKo explorers have agreed on this. In: Spiegel Online, January 12, 2018, accessed January 12, 2018 .
  5. a b Pension Insurance Report 2015 : Report of the Federal Government on the statutory pension insurance, in particular on the development of income and expenditure, the sustainability reserve and the required contribution rate in the future 15 calendar years in accordance with Section 154 (1) and (3) SGB VI, Berlin, page 38 ff. Accessed December 31, 2015
  6. a b Pension Insurance Report 2012 : Supplementary report by the Federal Government on the Pension Insurance Report 2012 in accordance with Section 154 (2) SGB VI, Berlin, pages 9, 22 ff. And 168 ff. Accessed on December 31, 2015
  7. Schäfer, Ingo: The illusion of securing living standards - an analysis of the performance of the "three-pillar model" . Ed .: Chamber of Employees Bremen, Bremen. Accessed December 31, 2015
  8. "Three-pillar model" of old-age security failed - despite subsidized private provision, no standard of living security . Berlin, 2015. Retrieved January 2, 2016
  9. OECD (2017), Pensions at a Glance 2017: OECD and G20 Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris. [1] Retrieved September 12, 2018.