Training time for employees: What questions are still open – Economics


Further training – this term can sound pleasant in the ears of many managers. Better qualified staff, more opportunities, maybe even more motivation are promised. However, many employees do not break out of the celebration as qualification measures approach. Further training can also be seen as an inconvenience (“What do they want now?”) And as a coercion to adapt to new requirements. And there are many of them: digitalisation, the accelerated transition to energy, the transition of the car industry to electric motors, to name but a few. “I would like to call for an emergency call, because of qualifications – new requirements create uncertainty for employees,” said Julia Görlitz, a training expert at IG Metall, during a German labor law day in Berlin on Friday.

This year’s conference of lawyers, judges, politicians and other experts has undertaken further training and retraining – a highly political topic. A review at the beginning of the meeting showed how much pressure there was to act. According to the latest 2018 According to the data, only about 35 percent of adults participate in further education measures, of which only 15 percent use the acquired knowledge. And many professionals will soon be leaving their jobs, largely due to retirement, by 2040. 5.3 million will be lost. jobs, said Doris-Maria Schuster, president of the German Bar Association AG Arbeitsrecht. All the more necessary to qualify others. “The status quo is worrying,” Schuster said.

Minister for Labor Hubertus Heil (BPD) and the Traffic Light Coalition, which has taken up the issue, want to address this situation with a number of instruments: In future, the training period should allow employees to study for one year full – time or two years part – time. The Federal Employment Agency should pay support during this period, as well as unemployment benefits, to fund the plans. The new education allowance must be as natural as the paternity allowance, Heil says. Companies and workers facing shocks, such as the loss of a business base due to the end of a combustion engine, should be able to find a new job after receiving a training allowance. And a loan to study for life should allow people to save money on freely chosen qualifications under traffic light plans. For a professional restart.

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Participants reject the need for further training

However, key questions remain unanswered: should employees be entitled to further training? On the other hand, should companies be able to oblige their employees to undergo further training? And who finances it all: the state, companies or employees? Conflicts are possible here, and this was evident on the various podiums of Labor Law Day.

Julia Görlitz from IG Metall called for the right to further training, noting that employees would “open the door and say we want time to learn”. Thomas Heilman, a CDU labor market politician, on the other hand, called for volunteering. “You have to convince executives that it’s good for the company,” says a former Berlin justice senator. The shortage of skilled workers is already putting pressure on companies to train more. Other experts have raised an intermediate form, requiring companies to offer a catalog of qualification courses to their employees.

There is a greater consensus on whether employees should participate more frequently in further training. Until now, this has usually only been possible if the law requires additional requirements or is necessary to perform the task, for example in the case of data protection officers or company doctors. In the opinion of the majority, this should remain the case. “Under pressure alone, you won’t achieve anything. Then someone will endure the training and learn nothing,” said Stefan Kürschner, head of SAP’s software rights and co-decision.

Until now, the question of how much employers or employees have to pay for further training or dedicate their free time to it has been largely unregulated. Legal uncertainty is high, said Martin Hensler, a professor at the University of Cologne. If a company pays for expensive training on a Saturday, is that working time? Both sides often benefit. There is nothing in the Coalition Treaty of the Traffic Light Coalition on this, but it could still become a controversial issue.

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