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The Work 4.0 Agenda of the BMAS

The Policy Lab is the central supporting function at the BMAS for all issues related to the digital transformation for academia, those people involved at a practical level and social partners. For the BMAS itself, the Policy Lab provides a service function for the specialist departments, combines the processes relevant to digitalisation at the BMAS into the Work 4.0 Agenda of the BMAS and networks them closely with the plans of other ministries as part of the digitalisation strategy of the German government.

While the Policy Lab will primarily focus on future scenarios and finding answers to new challenges, there are numerous projects at the BMAS that contribute to the design of the world of work in the digital transformation. Many of these projects were developed in the Work 4.0 Dialogue Process (2015-2017) and were included in the coalition agreement.

The Policy Lab will combine the Work 4.0 projects at the ministry into a BMAS Agenda. At the same time, the Policy Lab will itself act as an experimental space for new, agile working methods and test new policy-making methods.

The focus will be placed on the following initiatives and projects:

National Skills Strategy

Highly varied career biographies are already a common thing today. Due to the digitalisation of the labour market, employees will be faced with the challenge of continuously developing and learning new skills and working methods. Further education and qualifications play an important role in this area. Together with social partners and coordination from federal States, the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) have developed a National Skills Strategy for the first time in the history of the German Federal Republic. This policy is designed to strengthen Germany’s skilled labour base, simplify career advancement, and help people make use of the opportunities digitalization presents them. With the National Skills Strategy the federation, the federated states the economy, Unions and Federal Employment Agency lay the foundation for a new furthered education culture.

German Federal Government Strategy on Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The German government has set itself the objective of making Germany a world leader in the research, development and application of artificial intelligence and published key points on this subject in July 2018. The Policy Lab is responsible within the BMAS for the development of the AI strategy, which will be presented at the Digital Summit of the German Federal Government in December 2018 in Nuremberg. In cooperation with the other leading ministries of the BMWi and BMBF, it will push for a socially compatible and human-centric approach to the promotion and regulation of AI.

Learning and Experimental Spaces from the Initiative New Quality of Work

The Initiative New Quality of Work works on the basis of a social partnership and aims to make it easier for companies to introduce innovations that also guarantee good working standards in the “World of Work 4.0”. In this context, the Federal Ministry of Labour funds projects that create new ways and spaces in which business leaders and employees can test innovative working concepts against the background of the digital transformation. These examples will be presented as a stimulus for other companies and organisations on the platform experimentierräume.de.

National Action Plan 2.0 for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The National Action Plan 2.0 for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will place a focus on the theme of digitalisation. Online services from authorities, assistance systems and applications for political participation:  Digitalisation offers opportunities for facilitating social participation for persons with disabilities. The BMAS funds pilot projects and approaches to simplify administrative decisions related to social services and further improve participation in social life.

As part of the Work 4.0 Dialogue Process, the German Working Time Act became a key area of discussion: Many employees would like to have greater scope to define their daily working hours for themselves, while companies require greater operational flexibility against the background of fluctuating volumes of orders. The coalition agreement intends to examine the use of a tariff opening clause in the German Working Time Act in order to make the maximum working time per week more flexible on the basis of wage and collective bargaining agreements.

Employment Relationships and Social Protection for Work Offered via Platforms

Design, programming, marketing, text work: Many people offer their work and services on digital platforms and negotiate the conditions individually with their customers. Does this type of work offer additional, flexible employment opportunities or does it push people into precarious employment relationships without social security? In cooperation with academia, social partners and stakeholders, the Policy Lab will analyse the legal framework and any possible vulnerabilities faced when offering work via platforms. The aim is to develop suitable policies and adapt the regulations at a national, European and international level.