Unemployment insurance ("Arbeitslosenversicherung") contributions are part of the statutory social security payments. The persons with a duty to contribute to unemployment insurance are detailed in §§ 24 et seq. SGB III.
Unemployment insurance ("Arbeitslosenversicherung") is deducted from salaries when being paid. The employee does not have to worry about them. As a rule, the employer is responsible for paying half of the contribution towards unemployment insurance, the employee the other half.
Pursuant to § 341 SGB III, the contribution rate totals 2.5% of the gross income subject to contributions, whereby so-called annual income thresholds of 85.200 euro in the west and 85.200 euro in the east of Germany apply as of 1st January 2023. Income exceeding these thresholds no longer has an impact on the contribution payable.
Within the unemployment insurance scheme, the local employment agency ("Agentur für Arbeit") actively promotes employment (mediation, further training) and provides income support ("Arbeitslosengeld").
Those meeting the entitlement criteria (i.e. who were employed in Germany immediately before becoming unemployed and paid social security contributions in Germany for a minimum of 12 months in the past 2 years) and are available for work are entitled to claim German unemployment benefits.
Past periods of employment in Member States of the EU / EEA States and Switzerland can be taken into account. For this purpose you will need the form PD U1 / E301 stating the periods in which you have worked as an insured employee. This form can be obtained from the National Insurannce of the concerned states. The official blank forms provided by the German employment agency can be found under "Further Information".
Fellowships are usually exempt from compulsory social security payments.
To what extent benefits accrued in Germany will be recognized by unemployment insurance companies in other countries must be ascertained in the respective country. If you are returning to a country which does not have a Social Security Agreement ("Sozialversicherungsabkommen") with Germany, it will not be possible to receive German unemployment benefit there.
While drawing unemployment benefit ("Arbeitslosengeld"), recipients' contributions towards health insurance and long-term care insurance are paid by the Employment Agency ("Agentur für Arbeit"). Statutory pension scheme contributions will also be paid. The unemployment insurance provider is the German Federal Employment Agency ("Bundesagentur für Arbeit"), represented by its Local Employment Agencies.