• Germany's news in English
Want a fat state pension at 37? Join the Social Democrats
The face of retirement? Former Berlin government spokeswoman Daniela Augenstein. Photo: DPA.

Want a fat state pension at 37? Join the Social Democrats

The Local · 21 Sep 2016, 17:07

Published: 21 Sep 2016 17:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Sep 2016 17:07 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

If the Social Democratic Party (SPD) plan to show this kind of generosity to the people who re-elected them in Berlin on Sunday, perhaps the good times lie ahead for the happy-go-lucky German capital.

The Berliner Morgenpost reported on Tuesday that the former head of press operations for the Berlin government had been placed on early retirement - to the tune of €6,385 per month and at the age of 37.

City officials said on Tuesday that Berlin mayor Michael Müller's former head spokeswoman Daniela Augenstein had been placed on temporary retirement, just two days after the Berlin election.

Because she held a position as state secretary, Augenstein is entitled to be paid her full salary for the next three months, which the Berlin interior department told Spiegel Online would be “around €8,906” per month.

On top of that, Augenstein is under law supposed to receive 71.75 percent of her full pay check - about €6,385 - for the same amount of time that she was in her position.

Because she started in December 2014, this means she could be swimming in the generous retirement payments for the next 21 months.

Still, the Morgenpost reported that the total amount she receives will take into account any other income that she receives during this time.

The reaction to Augenstein's reported retirement plan was swift:

Many, including TV presenter Christoph Süß, joked on Twitter that perhaps the SPD was considering a new national pension policy, using the Berlin spokeswoman as a model.

A meme was shared with Augenstein's face, stating: "The 'Berlin Model': Could retirement come at 37?"

"I would gladly become her successor," wrote Gert Postel, famed for successfully applying to become a doctor without any medical training, and later becoming a figure in the anti-psychiatry movement in Germany. "I have the usual qualifications." 

Why exactly Augenstein was let go is not clear. Müller said only that he assumed the 37-year-old “wanted to do something” else.

He rejected rumours that it had been due to a personal disagreement or a difference in opinion about campaign strategies, saying that her leaving the position “had been decided between Ms. Augenstein and myself months ago”, in around January or February.

Story continues below…

Speculation about a falling out between the politician and his spokeswoman had already begun when reporters noticed that Augenstein had gone missing shortly before election day. The city office told Tagesspiegel on August 26th that the theories about Augenstein leaving were “absurd speculation” and that she was on a ten-day holiday, using up unused vacation days.

When pressed about Augenstein’s unusual vacation time right before the election, Müller told reporters that she had had personal reasons. He added that she was not needed at that point in the campaign because media communication about him as a candidate had gone through his party instead.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd