The German government will start discussions with social partners about possible conditions to encourage people to work longer.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate (BMWK) has agreed to start the dialogue with social partners, coordinating with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), that is responsible for the initiative, a spokesperson for the BMWK told IPE.

Mobilising workers in general, and especially skilled workers, is one of the challenges of the coming decade, while demand for workers is high, the spokesperson added.

Germany’s economic success in the next few years depends largely on whether it succeeds in having sufficient workers and skilled workers available, he noted.

Therefore, the government wants to offer incentives and reduce barriers to older people who decided to work longer. Experienced employees in particular can be an important source of support for companies, the spokesperson said.

The second part of the new Skilled Immigration Act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetzes) comes into force on 1 March, giving easer access to the German labour market to experienced, skilled workers from abroad.

With the dialogue on longer working life, the government is shifting the focus on the “domestic potential” in terms of skilled workers, the spokesperson said.

The government has also abolished the earning limits for employees who opt for an early withdrawal of statutory pensions to keep older employees at work.

On the other hand, the cabinet plans to keep the ‘Rente mit 63’ rule – the early retirement option from 63 years old for long insured people – intact, against the view of experts proposing to get rid of it, and increasing retirement age in line with life expectancy.

Hubertus Heil, minister of labour and social affairs, said in an interview with the Funke media group’s newspapers: “There will be no further increase in the statutory retirement age”.

In his view, “a pension at 69 or 70” would mean a “pension cut” for many hard-working people.

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