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Comprehensive benefits of the unemployment insurance

The most important factor of unemployment insurance is the payment of unemployment benefits. However, there is a wide range of other benefits:

Career guidance

The Federal Employment Agency provides career guidance for young people and adults participating in the working life or willing to do so. Such guidance comprises information and advice on:

  • choice of career, vocational development and change of career,
  • the situation and prospects of the labour market and careers,
  • opportunities for vocational training,
  • search for training opportunities and employment, and
  • benefits to promote employment.

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Advice for employers in ocean shipping: the central nautical placement agency Hamburg

The Federal Employment Agency ("Bundesagentur für Arbeit") provides, in addition to the „normal“ advice for employers ashore, special shipping related advice through the central nautical placement agency, Hamburg. This placement agency is in charge of recruitment of seafarers and advice for the shipping industry all over Germany. Furthermore, this agency provides careers guidance for prospective seafarers and assists in placing trainees on board. Finally, the agency monitors the maritime labour market and provides respective information at regular intervals.

Customers of the central nautical placement agency are employers as well as employees interested in working in any capacity on board. For further information on the central nautical placement agency please refer to the website of the Federal Employment Agency.

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Wage compensation: unemployment benefits and more

Wage compensations of the unemployment insurance comprise:

  • unemployment benefits,
  • reduced hours compensation, and
  • insolvency payments.

Unemployment benefits

An employee who is unemployed, has registered as unemployed with the Federal Employment Agency and has completed the qualifying period is entitled to unemployment benefits. The qualifying period is completed, if at least 12 months of employment subject to compulsory insurance have been completed within the last two years.

Registration as seeking employment is required in person at the employment agency at least three months prior to the end of the current employment or training. If the termination of the employment or training becomes known only at a later date, the registration has to be made within the first three days after that date.

The duration of unemployment benefit payments depends on the number of compulsory insured periods within the last five years (e.g. employment, receipt of sickness benefits, etc.) and on the age of the unemployed. The amount of the unemployment benefit depends on the income from the last employment, the number of own children and the income tax group.

Periods of exclusion from benefits are imposed in case of unfounded behaviour impairing the interests of the insurance, e.g.:

  • quitting employment,
  • rejection of employment,
  • insufficient own efforts,
  • rejection of participation in a vocational integration measure,
  • failing to complete a vocational integration measure,
  • failing to report in time, or
  • delayed registration as seeking employment.

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Reduced hours compensation

The (economy related) reduced hours compensation is paid, if the weekly hours of work in branches or departments are reduced due to economic reasons or due to an inevitable occurrence. The preconditions for its payment are defined with sections 169 to 182 of volume III of the German Social Insurance Code (SGB III).

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Insolvency payments

If an employer has become insolvent and employees have, as a result, received their wages only in part or not at all, the Federal Employment Agency grants, under certain conditions, insolvency payments to the employees which fully compensate the outstanding wages. The entitlement to insolvency payments covers the last three months of the employment prior to the date on which the insolvency is declared.

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Assistance for vocational training

Vocational training can be financially supported by means of a vocational training assistance (Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe), if the training is eligible for support and if the trainee personally qualifies for support. Personal qualifications include, inter alia, no living with parents.

The vocational training assistance comprises financial assistance for subsistence, travel expenses and other expenses such as fees for correspondence courses and training courses.

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Assistance for vocational further training

The following expenses of further training can be reimbursed:

  • expenses for training courses and examinations,
  • travel expenses,
  • expenses for external subsistence and accommodation,
  • expenses for child care.

Employees participating in vocational further training may be subsidised, if such further training is essential for vocational integration of an unemployed person or to prevent impending unemployment. Furthermore, the Federal Employment Agency must have been consulted for advice and the training program and its provider must have been approved. If all conditions are complied with, a training voucher is issued.

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Assistance for vocational integration of disabled persons

Disabled persons may, to assist their vocational integration, receive benefits, if these are, due to the kind and degree of disability, necessary to maintain, improve or regain their employment and to safeguard their vocational integration. Their aptitude, inclination and previous employment as well as the situation and development of the labour market are taken into consideration.

Disabled persons may receive standard benefits as well as specific benefits to assist their vocational integration. The standard benefits comprise:

  • Support related to guidance and placement,
  • Improvement of the prospect for vocational integration,
  • Assistance for starting an employment, self-employment or vocational training and further training.

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Benefits for creating and maintaining jobs

Many of the benefits provided by the Federal Employment Agency are subsidies to measures aimed at the creation of jobs. The employment agency subsidises in particular measures for the re-integration of severely disabled, older or long-term unemployed persons into their former vocation. Employers may apply for such subsidies at the start of an employment.

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