unemployment insurance

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An unemployment insurance ( AV , Switzerland ALV ) is one of the social that the primary target , has job-seeking people during their job search, the income to secure.

Unemployment insurance in Germany

The unemployment heard in the social security system of the Federal Republic of Germany to the social . Across the board, it is also referred to as the insurance branch of employment promotion . Its legal basis is the Third Book of the Social Code (SGB III). The Federal Employment Agency in Nuremberg is responsible for the unemployment insurance . The supervising ministry is the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs .

The state unemployment insurance in the Federal Republic of Germany paid unemployment benefits to around 750,000 people in April 2017.

Compulsorily insured

The group of compulsorily insured persons is determined according to § 25 and § 26 SGB ​​III. You are then subject to insurance

  • salaried persons except the marginally employed . It is personally dependent on who is integrated into the employer's business and who is subject to the employer's right of direction and who is therefore not able to freely organize his work in terms of time, duration, place and type. The legal relationship as it is practiced and the practiced relationship as it is legally permissible is decisive.
  • Young people who receive benefits for participation in working life in institutions for vocational rehabilitation, which should enable them to work on the general labor market.
  • Conscripts who according § 54 para. 1 of the Conscription Act make a voluntary military service.
  • Prisoners who do the work assigned within the framework of the violent relationship under public law ( § 37 , § 41 StVollzG ).
  • Non-statutory members of religious cooperatives, e.g. B. Postulants and Novices .
  • Recipients of the following compensation benefits if they were subject to unemployment insurance immediately before the start of the benefit or if they received an ongoing compensation benefit according to SGB III:
  • People who are bringing up a biological child, adopted child, foster child or stepchild under the age of three if they were compulsorily or voluntarily insured immediately prior to the start of the child-raising period or if they received a compensation benefit in accordance with SGB III.
  • People who take care leave in accordance with the Care Leave Act if they were immediately subject to unemployment insurance or received an ongoing compensation benefit in accordance with SGB III.

Voluntarily insured

Self-employed and employees working outside the EU are not required to take out insurance; However, since February 2006, under certain conditions, they have been able to take out additional voluntary insurance against unemployment ( Section 28a SGB ​​III). Employees and self-employed abroad pay a monthly contribution based on a fictitious income in the amount of the monthly reference figure; in the first two years after starting a business it is only 50 percent of the reference figure. At the current contribution rate of 3 percent, the monthly contribution for employees abroad and for the self-employed according to the reference figure applicable for 2015 is € 85.05, from 2018 it is € 91.35, and for self-employed in the accession area it is € 72.45.


Like health , long-term care and pension insurance, unemployment insurance is financed by contributions from employers and employees. The Federal Employment Agency (BA), as the institution responsible for unemployment insurance, finances not only the insurance benefits in the narrower sense, but also the tasks assigned to it within the framework of labor market policy by collecting contributions, which are supplemented by levies, federal funds and other income the means for administration and for self-government. Unemployment insurance benefits are mainly financed from insurance contributions. In the case of employees, half of the contribution is to be paid by the employee and half by the employer.

To finance the non-insurance tasks that the federal agency are transferred, the paid covenant under § 363 SGB III aF by 2012 a federal grant, which, however, by the inclusion contribution was reduced effectively. As of January 1, 2013, both the federal grant and the integration contribution were canceled.

Unemployment insurance in Germany
Period Contribution rate
2006 6.5%
2007 4.2%
2008 3.3%
2009 and 2010 2.8%
2011-2018 3.0%
2019 by
by ordinance:

2020 by
by ordinance until 2022:


Contribution rate

Since January 1, 2019, the contribution rate has been 2.6 percent of the gross salary subject to contributions ( Section 341 (2) SGB III). Due to § 1 of the ordinance on the collection of contributions for employment promotion according to a lower contribution rate for the calendar years 2019 to 2022 from December 18, 2018, it was reduced to 2.5 percent in 2019. From January 1, 2020, the contribution rate will be 2.4 percent . This regulation is valid until December 31, 2022.

Up to the end of 2006 the contribution rate was still 6.5 percent, after which it was initially reduced to 4.2 percent and later to 3.3 percent by the end of 2008. As of January 1, 2009, the contribution was reduced to 2.8 percent. On July 1, 2008, the reduction to 2.8 percent was extended to the end of 2010 as part of the economic stimulus package II . Since January 1, 2011 it has been 3.0 percent.

Assessment ceiling

In the case of unemployment benefit, which is measured according to the amount of the salary subject to contributions ( Section 341 (1) SGB III), the contribution assessment limit means that the benefit is capped accordingly.


As part of the unemployment insurance, the employment agency provides active employment promotion and compensation benefits . These are not only insurance benefits, as those who are not insured can also receive certain benefits.

According to the law of employment promotion, the following can be claimed:


Unemployment insurance in Germany was introduced on July 16, 1927 by the law on job placement and unemployment insurance and transferred to the Reichsanstalt für Arbeitsvermittlung und Arbeitslosenversicherung . Previously, unemployed people who were needy could receive support services within the framework of unemployment welfare, which has been a compulsory task of the municipalities since 1918. Since November 1923, employers and employees had to make contributions to finance unemployment benefits. With the National Socialist seizure of power in 1933, the Reichsanstalt was “brought into line”, self-administration and free choice of occupation were abolished and “management of the workforce” was elevated to a state program. After the attack on Poland, the employment offices were also responsible for the occupied territories; their main task was to exhaust all available labor reserves for the war economy in Germany.

After the war, unemployment insurance in the Federal Republic of Germany was again regulated by federal law in 1952. In 1969 unemployment insurance was transferred to the Employment Promotion Act . Since January 1, 1998, unemployment benefits have been regulated in SGB ​​III .


Critics of the statutory unemployment insurance point out that, like the other social insurance schemes, it is not an insurance in the narrower sense. In contrast to a voluntary insurance contract, the legislator forces every dependent employee to pay in and only grant benefits according to the cash situation and political decision. As of January 1, 2005, the payment of unemployment benefits for each contributor was limited to one year.

Some economists, such as Peter Bofinger , justify the difficult financial situation of the social security systems with the lack of equivalence of contributions to benefits. As a result, unemployment insurance, for example, is burdened by non-insurance benefits such as retraining and job promotion measures, while the actual task of this insurance should only be the payment of an income replacement in the event of unemployment. At the same time, the steady decline in employees subject to social insurance (i.e. dependent) worsening financial misery, triggered by the measures originally intended to promote employment, such as marginal employment and Ich-AG .

Hans H. Glismann and Klaus Schrader from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy are of the opinion that the state unemployment insurance does not serve to successfully combat unemployment and does not motivate employees to keep their jobs.

However, the unemployment insurance should only make replacement payments in the event of a loss of unemployment and not prevent or remedy unemployment per se. Is questionable also whether the personal "motivation" and concern for the preservation of employment of individual employees in relation to the structural (externally determined) changes in an industry ( rationalization , production relocation , relocation ) is even a relevant factor.

See also

Unemployment insurance in Switzerland

Unemployment insurance (ALV) is one of the social insurances in the Swiss social security system . The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the relevant cantonal authorities are responsible for unemployment insurance . The cantonal authorities appear under different names such as “Cantonal Office for Industry, Commerce and Labor”, “Office for Economy and Labor” or “Cantonal Employment Office”. Unemployment insurance is subject to the Unemployment Insurance Act (AVIG).

Self-employed persons can take out voluntary insurance based on Art. 114 BV.

Contribution rate

Employer contribution 1.1% for annual income up to CHF 148,200; 0.5% for annual income over CHF 148,200.

Employee contribution 1.1% for annual income up to CHF 148,200; 0.5% for annual income over CHF 148,200.


Unemployment funds

The various unemployment insurance funds pay out benefits to the unemployed on behalf of SECO and with its money . In addition, the unemployment insurance funds check whether the employee is entitled to benefits. There are various unemployment funds, mainly the cantonal funds and those of the trade unions . The unemployed can freely choose which unemployment fund should be used to pay out the benefits.

Unemployment benefit

In order to receive benefits from the unemployment fund, the following requirements must be met:

  • Report your unemployment to the municipality of residence or the responsible RAV
  • Minimum absence of 2 working days or loss of wages
  • Age : 18 to 64 (women), 18 to 65 (men)
  • no AHV pensioner
  • paid contributions for 12 months within the last 2 years, d. H. have worked as an employee in Switzerland or abroad.
  • actively seek a new job

There are special regulations for numerous cases that cannot be discussed in this context.

As a rule, 70% of the insured salary subject to AHV is paid out as unemployment benefits. 80% of the insured salary subject to AHV is paid if one of the following conditions is met:

A maximum of CHF 6230 or CHF 7120 if you are entitled to 80% are paid out monthly.

Bankruptcy Compensation

In the event of the employer's insolvency, the insolvency compensation covers the loss of earnings for work already performed for a maximum of 3 months. The insolvency compensation is paid directly to the employee.

Short-time work compensation

Employers affected by short-time work receive 60% or 67% of the wage costs over a certain period of time. This is to prevent dismissals due to short-term and unavoidable loss of work. The benefits are paid to the employer.

Bad weather compensation

Bad weather compensation is available for lost work caused by bad weather. This is to prevent dismissals. The benefits are paid to the employer.

Job placement

The regional employment centers RAV are an important organization within the unemployment insurance. The 121 RAVs operate the largest job placement platform in Switzerland and employ around 1,500 people. The RAV advises the unemployed and supports them in their search for a new job. The RAV also organizes courses for the unemployed. In addition, it is checked whether the unemployed person tries hard enough for a new job.

Employers receive support in finding personnel.


  • In 1884 the first unemployment benefit fund was established by the Typographers' Association. In the years and decades that followed, more unemployment funds were created. In 1951 a law came into force that allowed the cantons to introduce compulsory unemployment insurance in their territory. In 1977 a nationwide unemployment insurance was created, which is compulsory for all employees.

Unemployment insurance in Austria

In Austria, too, unemployment insurance is part of the national social security system. The Public Employment Service (AMS), a service company under public law with its own (politically occupied) board of directors and under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Labor, Family and Youth, is responsible for unemployment insurance . The practical handling takes place in 100 regional offices and 9 regional offices of the AMS. The regulations are regulated in the Unemployment Insurance Act 1977 (AlVG).


Employees (except marginal part-time workers ), apprentices, home workers and a number of other groups of people are compulsorily insured according to special provisions. Freelance workers have been compulsorily insured since January 1, 2008, and self-employed people have been able to choose to take out unemployment insurance since January 2009.

Contribution rate

The contribution rate for unemployment insurance for the employer is 3% (for apprenticeships: 1.2%), for the employee the contribution is graduated according to income. Values ​​since July 2018: up to € 1,648: 0%, over € 1,648 to € 1,798: 1%, over € 1,798 to € 1,948: 2%. The “normal” contribution rate of 3% is withheld above a gross income of € 1,948. The contribution rate of 2% does not apply to teaching relationships. The special contribution rate of 1.2% therefore applies to apprentices with a gross income of over € 1,798. The health insurance companies collect the unemployment insurance together with the contributions for health, accident and pension insurance. In 2018, the maximum assessment basis according to the ASVG was € 5,130 gross (2017: € 4,980, 2016: € 4,860).


Unemployment benefit

Entitlement to unemployment benefits is around 55–60% of net income plus supplements for family members (2012: 97 cents per day and person). The duration of benefits ranges from 20 to 52 weeks, depending on the length of the previous insurance periods and age.

Emergency assistance

After the unemployment benefit has been used up, you can apply for emergency assistance , which is unlimited in time and amounts to between 92% and 95% of the unemployment benefit. However, the income of spouses and domestic partners was deducted from this benefit until June 30, 2018, taking into account various exemption limits.


In the event of termination of employment through personal negligence (e.g. termination by the employee , dismissal), no benefits are paid out for the first four weeks; the period of benefit is postponed. If a possible start of work is refused or prevented, the benefits will be canceled for a period of six weeks, in the event of repetition for eight weeks.

Unemployment insurance in the EU

There is no unemployment insurance at EU level. Driven by the EU Social Commissioner László Andor , the introduction of a European basic unemployment insurance is discussed in connection with the establishment of a deepened European economic and monetary union . In the sense of a macroeconomic instrument, purchasing power is to be withdrawn from countries with a boom and low unemployment and purchasing power in crisis countries with high unemployment is to be supported. National unemployment insurances should be able to top up the benefits of the European basic unemployment insurance.

Such a uniform unemployment insurance is only possible by amending the EU treaty with the consent of all members.

See also

Web links


Individual evidence

  1. The monthly report on the labor and training market in Germany. (PDF) In: statistik.arbeitsagentur.de. Federal Employment Agency, April 2017, p. 24 , accessed on May 22, 2017 : "In April 2017, according to provisional extrapolation, 750,000 people received unemployment benefits under SGB III (excluding unemployment benefits for further training)."
  2. Federal Social Court, judgment of July 4, 2007 - B 11a AL 5/06 R
  3. Federal Social Court, judgment of August 29, 2012, B 12 R 14/10 R
  4. Costs of voluntary unemployment insurance 2015 , last accessed on July 16, 2015.
  5. First regulation amending the contribution rate regulation 2019 ( BGBl. 2019 I p. 1998 )
  6. Ordinance on the collection of contributions to employment promotion at a lower contribution rate (Contribution Rate Ordinance 2009) of December 21, 2008 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 2979 )
  7. Section 19 (1) SGB ​​I
  8. ^ Ordinance on unemployment welfare of November 13, 1918
  9. Ordinance on raising funds for unemployment welfare of October 15, 1923, RGBl. I, p. 984
  10. http://www.deutsche-sozialversicherung.de/de/arbeitslosenversicherung/geschichte.html
  11. Law on the establishment of a federal agency for job placement and unemployment insurance of March 10, 1952 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 123 )
  12. Art. 114 unemployment insurance
  13. § 2a AMPFG in the version of BGBl I 14/2018.
  14. § 2 AMPFG in the version of Federal Law Gazette I 118/2015.
  15. ^ Q and A on the concept of "basic European unemployment insurance". In: European Commission. September 3, 2014, accessed on September 22, 2019 .
  16. European unemployment insurance. Germans should pay for the unemployed in other countries. In: Focus.de. August 25, 2014, accessed September 22, 2019 .
  17. a b Brussels plans European unemployment insurance. In: welt.de. August 25, 2014, accessed September 22, 2019 .