The Architects’ Pension Fund (VwdA) works differently to the statutory pension insurance scheme. This means that the statutory regulation according to which contributions are paid by the state during periods of parental leave does not apply to the Pension Fund. However, you are entitled to apply for periods of parental leave to be taken into account by the statutory pension insurance scheme. In accordance with the case law of the German Federal Social Court, this also applies if you have been granted an exemption certificate so that you can join the Architects’ Pension Fund. If you paid into the statutory pension insurance scheme before participating in the VwdA and have not reached the general qualifying period set by the statutory pension insurance scheme of 60 months of contributions despite the time you spent on parental leave being taken into account, you can choose to make up for the missing months by paying voluntary contributions.
If you do not earn anything or only earn a very small amount from your professional activities during periods of time spent raising a child, you are generally entitled to apply for an exemption from paying contributions to the Pension Fund. Please note, however, that your pension entitlement depends solely on the contributions you make. We would therefore like to take this opportunity to remind you of the option to make voluntary contributions. More information can be found under voluntary contributions.
It is important to note that the disability pension is calculated differently. This generally comprises the pension entitlement calculated on the basis of the contributions paid, plus an additional payment equal to the amount which you would have accrued if the average compulsory contributions you paid before the occurrence of the covered event (for a maximum of the last five calendar years) had been paid up to the age of 55. On this basis, if you are currently not paying any contributions or only paying small contributions, this would result in a lower additional payment and a smaller pension pot if you were no longer able to work. The VwdA’s Statutes include an important provision on this, which prevents the disability pension entitlement from being lowered for up to five calendar years following the birth of a child by stopping the additional payment from being reduced. If you need to start drawing a disability pension between the birth of a child and the child’s 10th birthday, the additional payment is calculated on the basis of payments made for up to the last five calendar years before the birth of the child if this would lead to a higher pension amount. For actuarial reasons, this exception for participants taking parental leave is not detailed on your annual pension statement. You can ask the Pension Fund to inform you of the size of your disability pension pot.