Labour market policy

A successful labour market policy is of central importance for the people in Germany and for the German economy. Work means not only being able to earn a living, but also social participation, recognition and personal fulfilment. In view of the need for qualified employees and demographic change, it is crucial for the economy and society that all potential is exploited to the full and that all people are able to participate optimally in the labour market.

Aligning labour market policy with the challenges of the future
Fifteen years ago, Germany was still the "sick man" of Europe with over 5 million unemployed. Since then, the labour market situation has improved significantly, unemployment has more than halved by 2019, the financial and economic crisis ten years ago did little to harm the positive development, and even in the current Corona pandemic unemployment has so far remained below the 3 million mark - thanks in part to the massive use of short-time working allowances. The has succeeded in improving support for the unemployed, primarily through the more consistent use of labour market policy measures according to their impact and cost-effectiveness. At the same time, expenditure and the contribution rate were noticeably reduced and a reserve was built up. This has given us important room for manoeuvre in the crisis to secure employment. This successful course must be continued and further developed in line with the current challenges on the labour market. The key areas of action for labour market policy are the major challenges of the future: the digital and ecological transformation, demographic development, growing shortages of skilled workers and entrenched long-term unemployment.
Qualifications in demand on the labour market are the best protection against unemployment
In view of the increasing transformation of the economy, qualifications, professional flexibility and continuous training will play an increasingly important role. A good qualification is the best protection against unemployment. For this reason, the BA must also focus on young people from the very beginning of their training and working lives and, where necessary, provide them with targeted support during the transition from school to work in close cooperation with the responsible federal states and other stakeholders. In addition, low-skilled workers must be supported as far as possible on the path to a vocational qualification if personal suitability exists and there is a labour market need for the target occupation; can also be used for this purpose. The best solution always remains regular training, which must retain priority with all support offers, especially for under 25-year-olds.
Shaping basic security sustainably - optimising interfaces

Unemployed people are supported either by the contribution-financed unemployment insurance (SGB III) or the tax-financed basic benefits (SGB II). The interfaces between the legal spheres of SGB III and SGB II must be further optimised. Employers, for example, do not want to have two points of contact just because unemployed people are served by different legal systems. In addition to improved incentives to work, a sustainable basic welfare system requires that the job centres be relieved of unnecessary administrative burdens and that benefit legislation be made less bureaucratic. Existing labour market policy support instruments must be combined more flexibly and sensible support chains formed in which the next support steps are planned in advance, what has been achieved is regularly reviewed and, if necessary, readjusted. Systematic skills diagnostics, intensive support in the necessary cases and follow-up support even after successful integration are crucial in order to stabilise and secure employment.

Focus unemployment insurance on core tasks
The primary task of unemployment insurance - in addition to the payment of unemployment benefits and short-time working allowances - is the professional, rapid and sustainable placement, counselling and promotion of the unemployed. Only within narrow limits and under a clear division of responsibilities does unemployment insurance also take on preventive tasks that serve to avoid unemployment or to give people a speedy start to their working lives, such as career guidance and vocational counselling.
The of employees is primarily the task of employees and employers. No one is better at continuing education than companies. In order to avoid the misguided development of the contribution-financed unemployment insurance into a Federal Agency for Continuing Education, the promotion of continuing education for employees must be consistently focused on labour market policy necessities. This is where the BA and unemployment insurance make their original contribution and provide impetus for lifelong learning. This is closely intertwined with lifelong career guidance by the BA, which should always take place in large networks and, where possible, as referral guidance.
Short-time allowance: an important instrument in the event of a crisis
During the financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009 and also during the current Corona pandemic, the made a significant contribution to stabilising the economy and safeguarding employment. The possibility of being able to react quickly and flexibly in an emergency with simplified regulations on short-time working should be retained.