Option model

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Logo of the German District Association for the optional municipalities

In the option model , a municipality ( district or urban district ) has sole responsibility for the benefits according to Book II of the Social Code (SGB II). These so-called option municipalities are approved municipal providers of basic security for job seekers . The municipalities form a job center for this purpose .
As a rule of law - wherever there is no opting municipality - the Federal Employment Agency and the respective municipality are service providers of the basic security benefits according to SGB II. They each form a joint institution according to § 44b SGB ​​II, which also according to § 6d SGB ​​II the term job center leads.

Development of the option model

Legal basis (2004)

The legal basis for the option model was created in 2004 with the Fourth Act for Modern Services on the Labor Market (Second Book of the Social Code - SGB II). According to the “experimentation clause” (§ 6a SGB II), up to 69 districts or urban districts (analogous to the number of seats in the Federal Council) could apply for sole sponsorship of basic security for job seekers. The aim of this regulation was to test alternative models for integrating jobseekers. The option model thus entered into competition with the performance of tasks by the employment agencies within the framework of the standard model of the working groups . The model was the result of a compromise between the federal government and the governments of the federal states. It was limited to six years (January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2010). On the basis of a legally prescribed impact evaluation, a decision should be made from 2008 on whether to continue the option model.

Experimental phase (2005-2010)

On January 1, 2005, 69 municipalities took over the municipal sponsorship of SGB II. During the experimental phase 2005–2010, no optional municipality made use of the opportunity to return the approval. Of these optional municipalities, 63 were rural districts and 6 independent cities. The geographic focus of the option model is in Brandenburg, Hesse and Lower Saxony. The Hessian state capital Wiesbaden is the only city with more than 200,000 inhabitants that is an option municipality. In particular, the German District Association organized the inter-municipal exchange of experience between the optional municipalities. The options model was already assessed very differently by the various actors during this experimental phase. While the optional municipalities and the German District Association support the model, it was criticized in particular by the Federal Employment Agency.

The impact evaluation did not provide a clear result as to whether the option model is superior to the working group model or not.

Continuation of the option model from 2011

The option model has been of unlimited duration since January 1, 2011, the option municipalities are the sole sponsor of the benefits under Social Code II for an unlimited period of time. The basis was the amendment of the Basic Law by inserting Article 91e (2). The optional municipalities had to undertake in future to conclude target agreements with the responsible state authorities, to collect certain data and to transmit this to the Federal Employment Agency.

As of January 1, 2012, 41 additional municipalities, as approved municipal bodies, are responsible for basic security for job seekers. To do this, they had to submit an application to the responsible state ministry by December 31, 2010. In this application, they had to prove, among other things, that they were suitable to take on the task. The prerequisite for this application was a 2/3 majority in the municipal representative body (e.g. district council , city ​​council ). 78 municipalities have submitted such an application, 2 of them without the necessary 2/3 resolution. 16 municipalities whose applications were rejected, including the city of Leverkusen , then lodged a municipal constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court. The Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the legally required two-thirds majority violated local self-government, but ultimately rejected the constitutional complaints because the federal government was allowed to limit the number of optional municipalities to 110.



The optional municipalities (or opting municipalities, opters or option groups) are the approved municipal bodies according to § 6a SGB ​​II and use the designation Jobcenter according to § 6d SGB ​​II .

Embedding in local government

The organization of the processing of unemployment benefit II is regulated very differently by the opting institutions. The communal "Hartz IV offices" (sometimes also "communal job centers") work partly as subdivisions of the traditional social welfare office , as a separate office within the communal administration as staff units detached from the administrative hierarchy or as a communal independent company separate from the administration .

Internal structure of the responsible bodies

The internal structure of the processing offices is often similar to the common facilities of municipalities and the employment agency. There are options authorities or a mixed model (so-called matrix organization), both according to spatial (especially in rural districts) and according to objective (especially opting urban districts). This also reflects the will of the legislature to use the option model to find new ways of looking after jobseekers. The various forms of organization are compared using internal benchmarking and the advantages and disadvantages are explored. The chosen form of organization has not proven itself in individual municipalities and has been changed.

Criticism and discussion

Critics of the option model fear above all the emergence of a two-tier placement (short-term unemployed: employment agency; long-term unemployed: municipality) and doubt whether the competence of the municipalities (e.g. for supraregional placement) is equal to that of the agencies as successors to the traditional employment office. In a comparative study by the Federal Employment Agency in 2008, the placement of long-term unemployed people was criticized as inadequate. The study is criticized by several social experts and the optional municipalities because the examined data was not comparable and the Federal Agency, as a previous proponent of ARGEN, was not suitable for a neutral investigation.

Proponents, on the other hand, emphasize the flexibility of the municipality to be able to react quickly to local labor market conditions and without consulting a remote head office. They also emphasize the good local knowledge, the close contact between the municipalities and the local employers through other tasks (e.g. trade inspection, economic development ) and the constitutionally unequivocally lawful placement in municipal sovereignty. This was successfully challenged in the working groups between the agency and the municipalities - the alternative to the option - before the Federal Constitutional Court.

In particular, the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court reignited the discussion about the future of the option municipalities, although the option model was not the subject of dispute. It had indicated that there were no apparent reasons for the numerical limitation of the option. To determine the advantages and disadvantages of the option model, this is supported by the research institute infas . The official evaluation of the task performance models up to 2010 showed that both forms of organization have advantages and disadvantages (none of the forms of organization is superior to the other in all dimensions).

See also

List of optional municipalities

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Social Security Code, Book Two, Basic Security for Jobseekers from July 23, 2004
  2. www.kommunenfuerarbeit.de
  3. www.kreise.de (PDF file)
  4. Long-term unemployed: In the long run without a chance ( Memento from December 19, 2014 in the web archive archive.today )
  5. www.bmas.de (PDF file)
  6. www.gesetze-im-internet.de
  7. www.kreise.de
  8. www.bmas.de (PDF file)
  9. www.kommunenfuerarbeit.de (PDF file)
  10. BVerfG, judgment of October 7, 2014, AZ 2 BvR 1641/11
  11. z. B. Miesbach district
  12. z. B. Landkreis Sankt Wendel  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF)@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.bmas.de  
  13. z. B. Employment and Basic Social Security Office of the City of Schweinfurt
  14. z. B. Own operation of the city of Jena ( Memento from November 15, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  15. a b sh-landkreistag.de (PDF; 1.2 MB)
  16. mt-online.de  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / mt-online.de  
  17. Netzeitung: Long-term unemployed unemployed for longer ( Memento from May 29, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) June 18, 2008
  18. Stefan Idel: Critique of the labor market policy reason or the fairy tale from Nuremberg  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) p. 5f@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.lag-arbeit-hessen.net  
  19. ^ Judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court of December 20, 2007–2 BvR 2433/04; 2 BvR 2434/04