BERLIN, May 15 (Xinhua) — Starting next year, trainees will receive at least 515 euros (575.9 U.S. dollars) a month for their vocational training, according to a reform of the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) passed by the German cabinet on Wednesday.
The minimum remuneration for the first year of training will increase annually, according to the reform of the vocational training law that was part of the German coalition government’s agreement.
The inclusion of a minimum remuneration will be the first time that a general lower limit is set for the payment of trainees in Germany, although it will only apply if an employer is not bound by a prior collective agreement, according to the German Ministry for Education and Research.
“With the minimum remuneration, we start where there is no collective bargaining agreement. It keeps the balance, creates transparency and increases attractiveness,” said Education and Research Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU).
“With each training year, trainees receive a little more, since they learn more each year and thus do more for the company,” emphasized the minister.
In the second year of training, the minimum salary is to increase by 18 percent, in the third year by 35 percent, according to the draft bill.
The planned reform of the German vocational training law was also intended to strengthen continuing vocational education and training in Germany.
“Vocational education and training in Germany is one of the most successful qualification systems in the world. The BBiG amendment will make it even more attractive,” said Karliczek.
“The choice between initial and continuing vocational training or studies is not a question of more or less. It is a choice between two equal ways to professional success,” the minster added.
Criticism of the reformed vocational training law came from Germany’s two largest trade unions, IG Metall and ver.di.
“The reform of the Vocational Training Act contains the right approaches with regard to the minimum training allowance. With regard to the conditions for vocational training, however, it largely falls short of the requirements for modern vocational training,” Hans-Juergen Urban, managing director of the board for IG Metall, told Xinhua on Wednesday.
“The dual system of study is a form of training for the future. Binding quality standards and modern forms of co-determination are needed here. This is where the draft law simply fails,” said Urban.
The German trade union also felt that the draft law fell short with regard to the necessary quality assurance in training, support for voluntary work in the examination system and improved further training opportunities for in-company trainees.
According to figures from the Federal Employment Agency (BA), more than seven percent of all trainees in Germany earned 500 euros or less a month at the end of 2017.