Work in fields other than architecture
If you are self-employed, you can continue to use the Pension Fund to provide cover in the same way as you did before. Your compulsory contribution amounts to 18% of your earnings from your work as an architect (or 9% of your earnings during the first five years of participating in the Pension Fund). If you are no longer earning any money from this work, you must pay at least the minimum contribution, which stands at €310.50 a month in 2020. You can, of course, also choose to make a higher voluntary contribution. You can only apply for an exemption from paying your contributions if your total annual net income from professional work of any kind (in this case, it does not matter if you are working in a field other than architecture) is less than one-fifth of the contribution assessment ceiling in the statutory pension insurance scheme; in 2019, it must have been less than €16,560.00, for example.
If you are an employee, it is important to note that the exemption certificate issued by the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund generally only applies to professional activities in the field of architecture and the related employment relationship. Whenever you undertake work in a field away from this profession, you are required to make contributions to the statutory pension insurance scheme. In such cases, you can still use the Pension Fund as a supplementary pension scheme or you can submit an application for exemption from participation or from contribution payments. If, due to its specific characteristics or your contract, the work away from the field of architecture is limited (to a maximum of two years) and directly follows a period of employment in a profession in the field of architecture, you can apply to have the exemption extended for the limited period of time during which you will be working in this other field.