Employment promotion as part of unemployment insurance seeks to work against the rise of unemployment, shorten the period of time an individual is unemployed, and support the matching processes between supply and demand on the training and labour market. Basic income support for job-seekers aims to help individuals overcome the need for assistance by integrating them into gainful employment. Overall, the top priority is to avoid long-term unemployment by improving individual employability.
Gender equality must be a universal principle of employment promotion. Employment promotion should make a contribution to ensuring a high level of employment is reached and employment structures are constantly improved. Labour market instruments were reformed in 2011/2012 with the Act to Improve the Chances of Integration in the Labour Market (Gesetz zur Verbesserung der Eingliederungschancen am Arbeitsmarkt).
This Act pursues the following goals:
- More decentralism: strengthen the decision-making authority of the local employment offices and job centres.
- Greater flexibility: flexible use of labour market instruments that can be tailored to different support situations.
- More individuality: improve individual advice and support.
- Better quality: enhance quality assurance when labour market service providers are involved.
- Greater transparency: instruments of active labour market policy are regulated more simply and clearly, and with greater transparency.
To deliver on the goals set out, the instruments of labour market policy under Book III of the Social Code, in particular, were reorganised with the Act to Improve the Chances of Integration in the Labour Market. Rendered more transparent and clear, the instruments of active employment promotion should in future ensure that the employment offices and job centres can place individuals looking for a job or training position in a way that perfectly matches their profiles.
Individual support services
The following individual support services aim to help the affected individuals to re-enter employment more quickly:
Job placement (Sections 29-43, Book III of the Social Code)
- Advice and placement
- Private job placement
Mobilisation and professional integration (Sections 44-47, Book III of the Social Code)
- Placement budget
- Mobilisation and professional integration measures
Choice of profession and vocational training (Sections 48-55, Book III of the Social Code)
- Vocational guidance, career counselling and placement in training
- Training promotion services
Continuing vocational education and training (Sections 81-87, Book III of the Social Code)
- Promotion of continuing vocational education and training (CVET)
Taking up employment (Sections 88-94, Book III of the Social Code)
- Benefits to employers (employee integration grant)
- Promotion of start-ups
Retention in employment ( Sections 95-111, Book III of the Social Code)
- Support for employed workers (transfer benefits,
seasonal short-time allowance, short-time allowance due to economic situation)
Participation of individuals with a disability in working life ( Sections 112-129, Book III of the Social Code)
- Specific aid for people with disabilities
Among these services, public job placement services – which are free for all users – constitute a particularly important part of the vital services provided by the state, and are at the core of modern services in the labour market. Placement efforts should commence as soon as possible as professional integration is then more successful. For this reason, individuals should contact their employment office in good time.
Integration in employment often requires the support of employment offices. To this end, instruments are available that directly support the placement process (e.g. promotion from the placement budget) or prepare for placement (e.g. mobilisation and professional integration measures). If the job-seeker lacks certain qualifications, various CVET promotion opportunities are available. Employers receive employee integration grants if they hire unemployed persons who are difficult to place in employment. Furthermore, the employment offices support unemployed persons in moving to self-employment.
For the most part, the range of labour market integration services that the employment offices can offer is also available through the job centres to every employable job-seeker who is eligible for benefits. With the services and benefits under Book II of the Social Code, the aim is to support employable individuals entitled to benefits, and their families, in taking up employment. This support system seeks to give people the tools to earn their own living. Eligible, employable individuals include healthy individuals who can work for at least three hours a day under the conditions of the general labour market. An individual in need of assistance is someone who is unable to earn a living on the basis of his/her own means and resources.
For individuals who fall within the scope of Book II of the Social Code, a number of specific instruments are available that meet the particular needs of these individuals. These include the two instruments of publicly funded employment. Here, within the framework of “working opportunities”, it is possible to sponsor jobs that are additional, do not affect competition, and are in the public interest. Those participating in the program receive additional cost compensation. In addition, employment relationships subject to compulsory social insurance contributions can also be supported. Here, employers can receive a grant of up to 75 percent of the wage for a maximum period of two years if they hire individuals who have serious barriers to the employment market. Further to this, the integration bonus (Einstiegsgeld) is another instrument that seeks to give eligible persons an incentive to either take up employment subject to social insurance provisions or to pursue an activity as a self-employed person. In addition, in isolated cases self-employed workers in need of assistance can receive support in the form of loans or grants and advice with regard to their work in a self-employed capacity.
Agreement on objectives between the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs and the Federal Employment Agency
The agreement on objectives serves to implement the objectives of employment promotion set out in Section 1, Book III of the Social Code.