As an academic staff member at the University of Copenhagen you are covered by a mandatory pension scheme. The University pays a total pension contribution equal to currently 17.1% of your pensionable salary. 

Besides saving up for your old-age pension, you will also be covered by a built-in insurance scheme that covers you, and in some cases your family, for disability and a life insurance. The insurance coverage in relation to the ordinary and §53a pension contribution is flexible and can be arranged in a way that matches exactly your situation. 

Your pension fund will depend on your educational background and details of the relevant pension fund will be included in your letter of employment.

For further information about the insurance coverage, and if you wish to take out the pension amount when leaving Denmark, you must contact your pension fund. Please find the name of your pension fund at the bottom of your employment contract. If you already have a CPR number, you can also check your e-boks for letters from the pension fund to find the contact details. Please note that it is only possible to have your pension savings paid out if you leave Denmark and do not work for UCPH anymore (or in special circumstances if the pension amount is very low).

Three different options for internationals

As an international researcher employed at the University of Copenhagen, you can choose between three different pension schemes - please see below.

When you receive your employment offer from the University, you will be forwarded to an employment form and asked to choose which pension scheme you would like. If you have not chosen any, you will automatically be placed on the ordinary pension scheme. If you fulfill the requirements, it is possible to change your pension scheme, but not retrospectively.


On the ordinary pension scheme, pension contributions are exempt from taxation when they are paid into the pension fund. The pension fund will deduct 8% AM-tax upon receipt and place it on your pension account.

Tax will be deducted when you request your pension savings to be paid out. If you choose to take out your pension savings if you leave Denmark before you reach the age of retirement, the current fee is 60% of the savings. Please note that we have called it a fee and not a tax. Many countries do not recognise this fee as a tax and therefore, there is a potential double taxation on this income.

If you choose to have your pension savings paid when you reach the age of retirement, the taxation rate will depend on your personal situation and the prevailing pension tax legislation at that time.

Please note that a minor monthly administration fee will be paid from the amount in the pension fund. 





Under this scheme, the University will also transfer a monthly pension contribution to the relevant pension fund. 

However, opposite the ordinary pension scheme, when the pension contribution is transferred to your pension fund every month, it will be taxed immediately according to your current taxation status. You will be able to see this on your monthly payslip.

If you are under the researcher taxation scheme, your pension contribution will be taxed 32.84 %. If you are not eligible for the researcher taxation scheme, you will be taxed according to your income tax rate. 

Under the ordinary tax scheme, the taxation rate can vary between 37-51% - depending on your salary income level. Your taxable pension contribution will affect your progressive taxation on your salary income, as it is classified as "A-income", like salary.

Whether you request your pension savings to be paid out when you leave Denmark, or you keep your savings in your Danish pension fund until you reach the age of retirement, most tax related to the pension earned while employed by the University will have been paid. 

Please be aware that your capital gains on the pension will be taxed yearly and is considered Capital Income on the tax return. Please contact the pension fund or Skattestyrelsen (SKAT) for more information.

If you leave UPCH and Denmark before you reach the retirement age, you can take out the remaining amount without paying further taxes. Please note that an administration fee will be payable from the amount in the pension fund. 

To qualify for the §53A pension scheme, you must be a member of a pension fund that provides the §53A pension option (a majority of Danish pension funds do).



It is possible for some international researchers employed by UCPH to be granted a pension exemption. This means that an amount equivalent to the pension contribution will be paid out together with your monthly salary.

This amount will be taxed according to your taxation status, whether you are covered by the researcher taxation scheme with a flat rate of 32.84%, or are taxed on the basis of the ordinary tax scheme. In order to be eligible for the pension exemption, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Employment as a researcher – research assistant, PhD fellow, postdoc, assistant professor, associate professor or professor
  • Non-Danish citizenship
  • Fixed-term employment of maximum five years
  • Recruited from outside Denmark.

If you choose pension exemption instead of the ordinary or the §53a pension contributions, you should be aware that you will not be entitled to the insurance coverage that is attached to the pension contribution. If you have further questions about the insurance coverage, we recommend you contact a pension fund, as they vary between the different funds.