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2011 Best Employers - International

Bundesagentur für Arbeit

This German government agency offers teleworking and phased retirement

Winning Year: 2011, 2010
Industry: Government
Location: Nürnberg, Germany
Employees: 95,900; Percentage over age 50: 35.2

Employees at Germany's federal employment agency, Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), benefit from a wide variety of flexible work arrangements and long-term working time accounts that provide opportunities for extended leaves of absence. These options are especially beneficial to older workers caring for family members or transitioning into retirement. BA also regularly re-employs retired staff members with specific skill sets for special projects. More recently, BA launched a "family service," which offers caregiving consulting as well as emergency day care services.

See also: How the 2011 Best Employers winners were selected.

Lifelong Learning and Training: Managers conduct annual performance and development dialogues with each employee. This dialogue serves to determine the status of the employee's competencies and shows additional development opportunities. Individual career ambitions and life plans are taken into account explicitly.

In addition, BA regularly carries out a differentiated age structure analysis in order to optimize staff planning.

The BA's long-term working hours accounts are another essential element of lifelong learning. The concept allows an employee to accumulate up to 200 hours each year that can be used for early retirement, phased retirement, sabbaticals, training, and family caregiving responsibilities.

Flexible Work Arrangements: Five hundred flextime models are in use. Part-time employment, including in leadership positions, as well as telework have enjoyed a strong uptake. Telework is especially open to employees with family burdens (caring for children, old or disabled persons). Over 3,400 employees make use of it.

The teleworking option now is explicitly open to older employees in a later phase of their professional career to promote employability and job satisfaction of this target group in particular. The target group of employees on long-term sick leave (more than six weeks) has been added as a means of integration management. The BA has introduced this opportunity to be able to respond quickly to special personal or family-related requirements.

The BA launched a professional family service in 2011. It provides employees with:

  • Information and consulting on childcare as well as care of relatives
  • Support benefits in care situations and placement of childcare
  • Emergency care when the regular care suddenly becomes unavailable. 

Next: Promoting a healthy lifestyle and workplace diversity. >>

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