Side note: Academic Fixed-Term Employment Regulation
On the basis of this regulation, scientific and academic staff can be employed in academia on a fixed-term basis at a German university via fixed-term employment agreements (Academic Fixed-Term Employment Regulation) for up to twelve years (Medicine: 15 years) and max. six years pre-doc. All fixed-term employment relationships as well as fixed-term civil service employment and private employment exceeding one fourth of a full-time employment relationship at a German university or research institution are taken into account in this twelve-year regulation. If the doctoral degree is completed before expiry of the six-year period, any years not exploited prior to the doctoral degree can be added to the six postdoc years (we refer to this saved doctoral periods). Scholarships are not credited towards the six years prior to the completion of the doctoral degree, however they are taken into account in the determination of saved doctoral periods! Also, doctoral periods without an employment agreement or scholarship can be credited for the determination of the saved doctoral periods!
In accordance with the Academic Fixed-Term Employment Regulation, a time limitation within the twelve-year regulation is only possible where employment serves your own scientific or academic qualification. This may be the pursuit of a doctoral degree or habilitation as well as other scientific or academic qualifications (e.g. project management in the area of academia, junior/workgroup leader, etc.). The duration of the fixed-term must befit the qualification objective, which is why all employment agreements must specify a qualification objective.
The following exceptions and extension options exist: The six- or twelve-year periods can be extended if you are caring for own children, stepchildren or foster children (two years per child). And also disability or chronic diseases will allow for a two-year extension of the six or twelve years.
Special regulations apply for research projects financed by external funds. In this case, the duration of the fixed-term is based on the project term.