Measures to deal with the consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic
In June 2020, the coalition committee adopted the economic stimulus package "Combating the consequences of Corona, securing prosperity, strengthening sustainability" ('Corona-Folgen bekämpfen, Wohlstand sichern, Zukunftsfähigkeit stärken') and backed it with financial resources. With the federal programme "Securing apprenticeship places" ('Ausbildungsplätze sichern'), which was launched on this basis, a comprehensive network of support options was created and further developed in 2021 to maintain the supply of apprenticeship places and to continue vocational training programmes that have been started. A key element of the package is to maintain the number of training places on offer and to continue vocational training that has already begun, in order to give young people prospects for the future. The programme is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises with up to 499 employees that are particularly affected by the COVID 19 crisis. They receive temporary support also in the 2021/2022 training year to enable them to maintain their training activities and enable young people to start, continue and successfully complete their training. The Federal Government has provided will provide up to Euro 700 million in the years 2020 to 2022 to support training companies and training institutions in the health and social professions and their trainees.
The second amendment to the First Funding Guideline for the federal programme "Securing Training Places" came into force at the end of March 2021. According to this, since the beginning of August training companies and training institutions can receive training premiums if they maintain or increase their level of training, subsidies for training and trainer remuneration if they avoid short-time work and takeover premiums if they take over trainees from companies that have become insolvent due to the pandemic. In addition, a Lockdown II special grant was introduced for micro-enterprises that provide training. The first amendment to the Second Funding Guideline to support pandemic-related contract and joint training, which was published at the end of April 2021, has made it possible to fund preparatory courses for the final examination.
Employment Security Act
The Act to Secure Employment as a Result of the COVID 19 Pandemic (Beschäftigungssicherungsgesetz) created an independent legal basis for the promotion of Continuing Vocatinal Eduation and Training (CVET) during short-time work.
Employers will be reimbursed 50 per cent of the social security contributions they have to pay alone until the end of July 2023 if they provide their employees with CVET during the period of short-time work. The prerequisite is that the CVET is started during short-time work, the provider and the measure are approved under Book Three of the Social Code (Drittes Buch Sozialgesetzbuch – Arbeitsförderung) and the measure lasts more than 120 hours or is carried out under the Upgrading Training Assistance Act (Aufstiegsfortbildungsförderungsgesetz). In addition, for CVET measures under Book III of the Social Code, the employer will also be reimbursed at a flat rate until 31 July 2023 for course costs depending on the size of the company.
Work of Tomorrow Act
With the Act on the Promotion of Continuing Vocational Training in Structural Change and on the Further Development of Training Assistance (Gesetz zur Förderung der beruflichen Weiterbildung im Strukturwandel und zur Weiterentwicklung der Ausbildungsförderung – "Work-of-tomorrow Act"), which essentially came into force on 29 May 2020, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales – BMAS) has further developed the promotion of continuing vocational training. Support for employees and their employers will be increased in companies particularly affected by structural change, depending on the size of the company, and the conditions for support will be simplified for employees, employers and training providers. Further training support will thus be geared more closely to the changing requirements of demographic development, digitization and sustainability. A fundamental legal entitlement to funding for catching up on a vocational qualification has been introduced.
In addition, assisted training has been made more permanent and merged with the previous training support measures. Assisted training includes individual, continuous support and assistance from the search for training to successful completion of training. All young people who cannot start or continue their vocational training without support or who are likely to have difficulties in successfully completing their vocational training are eligible for support.