Training practice shows that time and again apprenticeships are discontinued or training contracts are not concluded because the apprentices cannot complete full-time training due to care obligations or for health reasons.
In practice, this particularly affects young women and those who become mothers during their training or before starting training. So far, childcare has hardly been compatible with apprenticeship training. Even though there are no quantifiable data on how many (potential) training relationships are affected by this, this challenge has also been repeatedly confirmed by company representatives and trainers.
An amendment to the Vocational Training Act (BAG), which regulates the company-based part of apprenticeship training, is now responding to this challenge. Since 1 May 2020 companies have been able to agree with affected apprentices on a reduction of the daily or weekly training time up to half of the statutory or collectively agreed normal working time. At the same time, an extension of the total duration of the apprenticeship (usually three to four years) by up to two years is possible.
The aim of the new regulation is to make it possible for people with care obligations or health restrictions to start or continue their apprenticeship training by reducing the daily or weekly training period. This also includes the possibility of converting existing full-time training programmes into part-time training.
This arrangement on part-time training can be made for the following reasons:
- if the apprentice has to look after his or her own child,
- for health reasons if a medical certificate is presented.
In the event of childcare obligations, part-time training is possible until 31 December of the year in which the child starts school, i.e. usually until the child is six years old.
The amendment of the BAG also allows a reduction of the daily or weekly training period if, due to the measures to combat the corona pandemic, short-time work is necessary in the training company as per the Labour Market Service Act (Arbeitsmarktservicegesetz). In this case, the training period can also be temporarily reduced to zero. However, this possibility is limited in time until 31 August 2020.
School-based part of the training
This new regulation in the BAG only affects the company-based part of apprenticeship training. Implementation plans for the accompanying training at vocational school are currently still pending. In particular, vocational school lessons in block form, where apprentices attend vocational school for several weeks at a time, often away from their own homes, will pose a considerable challenge in terms of specific implementation.
Ordinance amending the Vocational Training Act (Federal Law Gazette I, No. 18/2020)