Labour and Social Policy at the G7/G20 Levels

International exchange: Germany is a member both of the group of the leading seven industrialised countries (G7) and of the group of the most important advanced and emerging countries (G20).

The G7 and G20 are informal forums for multilateral cooperation. In recent years, they have become increasingly important. Member countries’ heads of state and government hold summit meetings at regular intervals for discussions and coordination on global issues. There are also regular various ministerial meetings, such as the labour and employment ministerial.

The G7

The "Group of Seven" (G7) includes Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States of America; the European Commission is also represented. The presidency of the group rotates annually among its members. Germany held the G7 presidency in 2022. In 2023, Japan is holding the G7 presidency and pursues four main topics under the motto "Investing in Human Capital":

  • Fostering the resilience of the labour market(incl. reassessing the pandemic policy responses)
  • Digital/green transformation and investment in human capital (incl. promoting lifelong learning).
  • Developing an inclusive labour market (incl. supporting the elderly, women, youth and people with disabilities).
  • Enhancing work engagement and promoting decent work (incl. ensuring occupational safety & health and decent work in global supply chains)

In its meetings, the Employment Working Group (EWG) discusses proposals on these topics, which are to be included in the ministerial statement. The statement is to be adopted at the annual conclusion of the Labour and Employment Ministers Meeting (LEMM).

German G7 presidency as regards labour and social policy

During the German presidency in 2022, the G7 agreed on an ambitious communiqué on the next steps to ensure that just principles drive policymaking during a time of structural change, while safeguarding decent jobs in a green social-market economy.

Digitalisation, demographic change and decarbonization (ecological transformation) are the "3 D"s and the main drivers of current global structural change. Around the world, jobs and their requirements are changing at an enormous pace. Climate change and its impact on employment and social cohesion are among the most urgent problems we have to deal with today and in the future. Due to the palpable climatic changes, the transition to an ecological economy, without a doubt, must be completed.

ILO-OECD issues paper prepared for the 1st G7 Employment Task Force meeting, Berlin, 17-18 February 2022

To ensure a successful cooperation among the G7 in shaping climate policy measures in a socially just manner, Federal Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil invited his G7 colleagues to Germany. At a meeting of the ministers, the focus was on four main topics:

  • Maintaining employability to give today's employees the skills they need to do tomorrow's work.
  • Occupational health and safety to take targeted measures that will continue to protect employees from the effects of the climate crisis and associated health risks in the future.
  • Enhancing social security to ensure that climate protection measures are socially just and that we involve all social groups for social acceptance and cohesion.
  • Conference on sustainable supply chains to discuss the benefit of a binding international standard on business and human rights and its success factors.

You can find out more about Germany's G7 presidency at


The "Group of Twenty" (G20) has existed since 1999. The summit of G20 members' heads of state and government in Pittsburgh (USA) in 2009 marked an important turning point, however. In the wake of the global financial and economic crisis, they decided to make the G20 the central forum for international economic cooperation. Like the G7, the G20 is an informal forum. It is not an international organisation, having neither its own administrative apparatus nor a permanent representation of its members.

In addition to Germany, the following 18 countries belong to the G20: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The EU is also represented. As with the G7, the presidency rotates annually.

Labour and social policy of the G20

In light of the financial and economic crisis, the 2009 G20 summit in Pittsburgh held the very first G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting. Its goal was to hold discussions on labour and social policy issues that were equivalent to the discussions on economic and financial policy issues. The Pittsburgh Leaders' Statement emphasised "putting quality jobs at the heart of recovery" from the effects of the crisis. The first meeting of the G20 labour and employment ministers took place in Washington in April 2010 when the United States held the presidency.

Germany held the G20 presidency from 1 December 2016 to 30 November 2017. During the presidency, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs resolutely advanced both fighting inequality and promoting inclusive economic growth within the G20. Together with our G20 partners, we worked out concrete options for action and policy recommendations to get an essential step closer to the common goal of inclusive, productive, and sustainable labour markets. The main topics were:

  • improving the quality of employment for women
  • integrating migrants and refugees into the labour market
  • promoting sustainable global supply chains
  • shaping the future of work

Germany's G20 presidency was followed by that of Argentina in 2018, of Japan in 2019, of Saudi Arabia in 2020, of Italy in 2021 and Indonesia in 2022. India has held the presidency since 1 December 2021. In the field of labour and social policy, India has made the following issues priorities:

  • Addressing Global Skill Gaps
  • Gig and Platform Economy and Social Protection
  • Sustainable Financing of Social Security

Like in the G7, the G20 Employment Working Group (EWG) use their meetings to develop proposals, which are to be included in the ministerial statement. The statement is to be adopted at the annual conclusion of the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting (LEMM).

Joint statements by the G20 labour and employment ministers as well as by G20 heads of state and government:

Further Information