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  Bundesagentur fur Arbeit


Description sub-topic

What is the legal basis of the PES, which tasks, aims and organisational structure are specified by law

Key law

The German Constitution, known as the “Basic Law” (Grundgesetz), and its provisions establish the legal basis and context for the work of the German public employment service.

Tasks of the PES

The mission of the BA

The BA forms the interface between economic, employment and social policies. Its tasks and services are:
Mission: Career guidance
Classical career guidance is aimed at young customers in the transition between school and work. The aim of occupational orientation is to prepare young people to enter a career. Here, the BA informs all those involved in the choice of career (young people, families, schools, business partners) about the traineeship market, questions concerning the choice of vocational training, career or degree, and continued education and study programmes. With regard to career guidance, young people are motivated and empowered to decide on their career choice and how to follow it independently. The vocational training service helps young people integrate in a vocational training position. Personal counselling is complemented by the following offerings: JOBBÖRSE (job exchange), BIZ (careers information centre), BERUFENET and KURSNET databases, and eLearning programmes.
Mission: Placement and integration of job-seekers
Placement services provide information and advice on the general labour market situation, choice of job, professional development and individual placement opportunities (change of job or career). The BA has a varied service spectrum at its disposal to integrate people in the labour market (co-operation between BA, employers and supporting organisations). It meets its social responsibilities by supporting the disabled in line with the Disabled Persons Act, for example.
Mission: Social security for job-seekers (since 2005)
The SGB (Social Security Code) II meant a system change in the focus and organisation of the support for the long-term unemployed:
  • Services from one source: no more “shunting” 
  • “Support and challenge”: Change in paradigm towards motivating services
Profiling forms the basis for arranging the steps towards professional integration: e.g. integration measures, introductory benefits, procurement of childcare places. Young people under 25 receive particularly intensive support with offerings for training, jobs, work placements, qualifications or educational measures to prepare for a job or career. The employment services are partners of communal support organisations in around 350 consortiums. In addition, there are 69 opting municipalities, which provide all services locally without the involvement of the BA, and 24 employment agencies with a separate exercise of functions. According to a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court (Dec. 2007), parts of the implementation of the SGB II reform must be reviewed. A political solution is expected in 2009.
Mission: Benefits/Support
Unemployment insurance and social security guarantee the material existence of the unemployed through cash benefits and are supplemented by various support measures. The rate for unemployment benefit category 1 is 67% (for benefit recipients with children) or 60% (with no children) of the former net wage or salary. Receipt of unemployment benefit is contingent on unemployment insurance contributions having been made. As of 01.01.2005, if this is not the case, or if the recipient has been unemployed for longer than 12 months (exceptions are possible, e.g. for older people), social security for job-seekers according to SGB II applies, and replaces unemployment assistance and welfare aid as a tax-financed, need-oriented basic benefit. Unemployed persons with assets exceeding the exemption limit must first use these. The standard benefit is 351 € (316 € for partners; reduced rates for children). Costs for accommodation are also carried as long as cost and size specifications are not exceeded. The law is associated with the tenet “support and challenge”. Initiative and commitment are essential for the unemployed to make use of the support offered and to increase their own opportunities on the labour market.
Mission: Labour market statistics, research and reports
The BA’s main target is political and management consulting, and public relations. Statistics make the labour market transparent for policy-makers (e.g. effects of measures) and BA top management (e.g. HR requirements). In its job market reporting, the Institute for Job Market and Career Research (IAB) has been analysing the labour market and developments in occupational categories and industries since 1968.
Mission: Equal opportunities for men and women in professional life
The aim is to remove gender disadvantages and improve the compatibility between family and work for men and women. Equal opportunity representatives answer questions on training, on how women can get on in their careers, and on how men/women can return to their careers after extended parental leave.

Legal status

The German Federal Employment Agency, or Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), is the largest service provider in the labour market. As a self-governing public-law corporation, it performs its duties on its own responsibility within the bounds of the applicable laws.

Aims of the PES

What the BA’s business goals look like…

The BA’s business goals put the focus on customers and employees:

The BA has four business goals:

  1. achieve a sustained improvement in counselling and integration (boost integration figures, reduce duration of unemployment) in order to
  2. increase customer satisfaction to a high level; the prerequisite for this is
  3. strong motivation of employees and tapping their potential.
  4. The basis and principle for all activities is economic and effect-oriented action. A controlling system with monthly target agreements is installed to support head offices, local offices and agencies.
Guiding conceptsThe guiding concepts of the BA include a clear commitment to outcome-oriented management. The principles for management and cooperation have been introduced within the organisation. A uniform management system and understanding of management’s role is a prerequisite for optimising performance to achieve targets. Goal-oriented management is possible and necessary, not only in outcome-oriented areas but in process-oriented areas of operation as well. The BA has a commitment to a situationally based management style.

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