3.6 Integration of young people in the labour market
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Germany has a broad variety of labour market policy instruments that can be used to implement the key recommendations of the EU Youth Guarantee. See also the National Implementation Plan to Establish the EU Youth Guarantee in Germany and the assessment of the Youth Guarantee implementation in Germany (January 2020). The Plan describes existing services available in the area of education, employment and training that promote and improve the integration of young people into the labour market.
The employment agencies are required under Section 37 of Book 3 of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch Drittes Buch, SGB III) to conclude an integration agreement (Eingliederungsvereinbarung) with young people seeking vocational training or employment. This agreement must be reviewed within three months. The integration agreement details the integration goal, the placement efforts of employment agencies, evidence of the young person’s own efforts, and any planned employment support measures. On this basis, young unemployed people aged 25 or under who receive basic security benefits for job seekers (Arbeitslosengeld II) take priority when vocational training places or jobs are awarded.
A variety of ESF-supported programmes run by various federal ministries and authorities also help to integrate young people into the labour market. Examples:
- Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, BMAS):
ESF integration directive of the federal government (ESF-Integrationsrichtlinie Bund) (2014–-2020). Aim: To integrate young people who have particular difficulty accessing employment or training into the labour market. Key areas with special relevance for young people: Integration not segregation (Integration statt Ausgrenzung), Integration through exchange (Integration durch Austausch). For more information on this, cf. the Youth Wiki chapter on Employment & Entrepreneurship, specifically the section onCross-border mobility in employment, entrepreneurship and vocational opportunities: Programmes and schemes for cross-border mobility. Funding (2015-2021): 324.7 million euros in total, of which 114.7 million euros in federal funds and 177.5 million euros in ESF funds.
- Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA):
ESF federal programme: Co-financing of mentoring for the transition into the labour market as per Section 49 of Book 3 of the Social Code (Kofinanzierung der Berufseinstiegsbegleitung nach § 49 SGB III). The aim is to integrate young people into vocational training. Lower-performing pupils who struggle to obtain a school-leaving qualification are supported personally by career mentors starting in school and continuing through to vocational training. Actual spending in 2019: 185.73 million euros.
- Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ):
ESF model programme: Supporting young people in the neighbourhood (JUGEND STÄRKEN im Quartier) (2014-2022) in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit). The aim is to support youth welfare offices in selected cities across Germany to work specifically with young people who are out of the reach of standard programmes owing to personal issues or social disadvantages and require special educational support in moving from school to work as per Section 13 of Book 8 of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch, SGB VIII). Youth Migration Services (Jugendmigrationsdienste) offer support in this area to help young members of the immigrant community in particular. Budget (2019-2022): 4 million euros in federal funds, 87 million euros in ESF funds. In 2018, 123,000 young migrants received 52.9 million euros in support.
For information about the dissemination of information about job opportunities and employment support services for young people, see also “Career guidance and counselling services” in the section “Career guidance and counselling” of the Youth Wiki chapter on Employment & Entrepreneurship.
Special target groups
Special target groups for vocational integration measures: young people in difficult living circumstances, young members of the immigrant community and young recent immigrants with special integration needs, young people who have dropped out of education, young people who intend to drop out of labour market schemes or have already, young people without a school-leaving qualification or professional qualification, and young people with disabilities.
There are no specific flexible employment schemes for young people.
Regarding their working hours, young apprentices/employees are covered by current regulatory and policy framework conditions and regulations. Key laws include the Act on the Implementation of Measures of Occupational Safety and Health to Encourage Improvements in the Safety and Health Protection of Workers at Work (Arbeitsschutzgesetz), the Act on working hours (Arbeitszeitgesetz), the Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz) (Section 8 on part-time training), the Act on parental allowance and parental leave (Gesetz zum Elterngeld und zur Elternzeit), the Young Persons (Protection of Employment) Act (Jugendarbeitsschutzgesetz), the Act on shop opening hours (Ladenschlussgesetz), and the Act on part-time employment and fixed-term employment contracts (Gesetz über Teilzeitarbeit und befristete Arbeitsverträge).
In addition to collectively agreed rules for certain professions or branches, specific topics and areas within a company are regulated by so-called works agreements (Betriebsvereinbarungen). These also apply to the young people working at the company in question.
Individual agreements regarding working hours are set out in the contract of employment.
Young people are entitled to the payment of unemployment benefit (Arbeitslosengeld) if they meet the relevant requirements. From the age of 15 they are also entitled to receive unemployment benefit II (Arbeitslosengeld II) to help them make a living.
Under Germany’s Upgrading Training Assistance Act (Gesetz zur Förderung der beruflichen Aufstiegsfortbildung), young people are entitled to financial support for further education provided they meet the relevant requirements.
On flexicurity in Germany, see also the Eurofound website and the discussion paper of the European Employment Observatory.
There are no programmes or initiatives directed only at young people. Yet Germany’s existing legislation on reconciling one’s personal and professional commitments also apply to young people.
Under Section 8 of the Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz) young parents can participate in a part-time vocational qualification course, which allows them to attend class flexibly and reconcile training and family life better.
The working time models in place in Germany also apply to young people. Young families can also use the different types of childcare or financial aid available if they meet the necessary criteria. Information about reconciling family and working life can be found on the Federal Employment Agency (Berufsagentur für Arbeit) website.
The federal programme day-care centre plus (KitaPlus) run by the BMFSFJ funds additional childcare services in day-care centres. These cater to the needs of families and are coordinated with job centres and employment agencies. The services benefit single parents and parents who work shifts, parents still in vocational training or at university, and parents looking for employment for whom a new job would involve shift work or unsociable hours, and give them a better work-life balance.
According to the 2030 future family report (Zukunftsreport Familie 2030) of the BMFSFJ, young parents benefit in particular from parental allowance (Elterngeld) and the option for one parent to take an additional two months of parental leave (Partnermonate) to make their working hours and organisational models family-friendly in cooperation with their employers. State-subsidised childcare also enables parents to agree more flexible, yet still reliable, working time arrangements.
Labour market integration measures and programmes are funded by the Federal Government, respectively the federal ministries in charge of each measure or programme, and also by the federal states (Länder), respectively the relevant ministries in charge of labour market integration affairs. Funds from the European Social Fund are also used for certain programmes. See the section on Youth employment measures for examples.
Further information on the funding of measures in connection with implementing the Youth Guarantee can be found in the National Implementation Plan to Establish the EU Youth Guarantee in Germany (pages 41-44 and 82-87).
For more information on this subject, see also the Youth Wiki chapter on Employment & Entrepreneurship, specifically the sections on
The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) compiles statistics on participation in funded vocational schemes, the number of people in new employment, participation rates among specific target groups, how long unemployed people spend searching for jobs, participation in retraining programmes, etc. It also carries out online surveys of participants on employment readiness schemes to get feedback on the schemes themselves.
A large number of employment and labour market integration programmes and schemes in Germany are regularly monitored and evaluated so as to learn from experience and build on successful initiatives. This process involves regular interim and summary reports, which are usually made available online.
Services like the youth migration services (Jugendmigrationsdienste, JMD) offered under the ESF model programme Supporting young people in the neighbourhood (JUGEND STÄRKEN im Quartier) evaluate their work and regularly adapt them to current developments and needs. JMD across Germany and across all organisations use the online application i-mpuls JMD to evaluate their work.