Working as a 34a secu­ri­ty guard: What to do when the boss can­cels services?

Working as a 34a security guard: What to do when the boss cancels services?

In the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty sec­tor, shift work, night work and work on holi­days are com­mon working con­di­ti­ons. Secu­ri­ty guards often per­form chal­len­ging work to ensu­re the safe­ty of faci­li­ties, events and peo­p­le. Unfort­u­na­te­ly the Wages in this sec­tor often in the low-wage sec­tor for exam­p­le, in the sepa­ra­te secu­ri­ty ser­vice. If hours are unex­pec­ted­ly lost, e.g. becau­se the employ­er loses an important con­tract, and the month­ly tar­get working time is not rea­ched becau­se of this (or for other reasons), it can beco­me finan­ci­al­ly dicey as a 34a secu­ri­ty guard. This artic­le looks at the reasons that lead to the can­cel­la­ti­on of working days and shows the pos­si­bi­li­ties that one then has as a secu­ri­ty employee.

What are pos­si­ble reasons why my employ­er sche­du­les me on fewer assign­ment days?

First of all, the secu­ri­ty company’s point of view should also be brief­ly exami­ned at this point. The fact that you are on the duty ros­t­er less often has in most cases (hop­eful­ly) not­hing to do with you per­so­nal­ly, but has ope­ra­tio­nal reasons. If the­se are explai­ned trans­par­ent­ly by the employ­er and you can under­stand them, this offers a bet­ter start­ing point for a solu­ti­on to the pro­blem that can be sup­port­ed by both sides. It is pos­si­ble, howe­ver, that this will lead to a chan­ge of employ­ment or to you start­ing to look for a new job. Or may­be the “lean peri­od” is only short and you can com­pen­sa­te for the hours by working extra hours in the fol­lo­wing month or the employ­er accom­mo­da­tes you in some other way.

Here are ten pos­si­ble reasons why your employ­er might want to redu­ce your working hours:

  1. Lower cus­to­mer demand: The­re could be less demand for secu­ri­ty ser­vices, lea­ding to a reduc­tion in the num­ber of man-hours needed.
  2. Eco­no­mic slow­down: It is pos­si­ble that the eco­no­mic situa­ti­on has dete­rio­ra­ted, lea­ding to resour­ce cons­traints and cost savings.
  3. Chan­ges in the busi­ness stra­tegy: Your employ­er may have chan­ged its busi­ness stra­tegy, lea­ding to an adjus­t­ment of human resources.
  4. Staff rota­ti­on: Pos­si­bly rota­te staff to give all staff the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work and to dis­tri­bu­te working hours more equitably.
  5. New tech­no­lo­gies or auto­ma­ti­on: The Intro­duc­tion of new tech­no­lo­gies or auto­ma­ted sys­tems could lead to fewer employees being needed.
  6. Sea­so­nal fluc­tua­tions: Working hours could be sub­ject to sea­so­nal fluc­tua­tions, for exam­p­le if less secu­ri­ty staff is nee­ded in cer­tain months.
  7. Chan­ges in con­tracts with cli­ents: It is pos­si­ble that con­tracts with cli­ents have chan­ged and this leads to a reduc­tion in the volu­me of work.
  8. Legal rest­ric­tions: The­re could be (new) legal rest­ric­tions, such as maxi­mum limits for working hours or rest peri­ods bet­ween shifts. Or the exis­ting requi­re­ments (e.g. from the Working Hours Act) are now bet­ter fol­lo­wed up.
  9. Com­pa­ny holi­days or sea­so­nal com­pa­ny breaksYour employ­er may have deci­ded to redu­ce working hours during cer­tain peri­ods, such as com­pa­ny holi­days or sea­so­nal breaks (from cus­to­mers). Also, for exam­p­le, the Covid pan­de­mic had cau­sed tem­po­ra­ry dis­lo­ca­ti­on within the industry. 
  10. Inter­nal com­pa­ny res­truc­tu­ring: Your employ­er may car­ry out inter­nal res­truc­tu­ring lea­ding to a reas­sess­ment of working hours and resour­ce allocation.

What opti­ons do I have if my employ­er assigns me to less work?

Of cour­se, it is not worth arguing about one or two hours. Howe­ver, a loss of 20, 30, 40 per cent or even more hours is a big deal, becau­se you also have to make a living. If your boss remo­ves you from the duty ros­t­er, assigns you to signi­fi­cant­ly fewer shifts than usu­al and you don’t work your hours — then you have the fol­lo­wing options:

  1. Check employ­ment con­tract!
    That is the most important point. As a rule, what is decisi­ve is what has been agreed in your employ­ment con­tract. For exam­p­le, if it says “full-time”, the employ­er is obli­ged to employ you accor­din­gly. What is meant by full-time is usual­ly regu­la­ted in the respec­ti­ve coll­ec­ti­ve agree­ment. Often a spe­ci­fic num­ber of hours is also agreed. If, for exam­p­le, 170 hours per month are con­trac­tual­ly sti­pu­la­ted in your employ­ment con­tract, this num­ber of hours must be adhe­red to (apart from minor fluc­tua­tions, e.g. due to sick cover).
  2. Con­sult the duty ros­t­er!
    Duty sche­du­ling in secu­ri­ty ser­vices, e.g. in fac­to­ry secu­ri­ty, is often done on the basis of a fixed shift rhythm. In this way, it is pos­si­ble to plan rough­ly in advan­ce — of cour­se with a cer­tain degree of uncer­tain­ty (e.g. due to eter­nal out­stan­ding holi­day plan­ning). Howe­ver, the actu­al duty ros­t­er for the fol­lo­wing month is decisi­ve: If it sta­tes 20 shifts, for exam­p­le, then you are entit­led to work this num­ber of shifts. Once a duty ros­t­er has been published, it may only be chan­ged again after con­sul­ta­ti­on with the employees.
  3. Seek dia­lo­gue and actively offer work per­for­mance!
    Many things can be cla­ri­fied through com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on. Seek to talk to your super­vi­sor and reach a con­sen­sus. Important: Com­mu­ni­ca­te that you do not agree with the chan­ges and expli­cit­ly offer your work per­for­mance! Your employ­er is obli­ged to give you the work accor­ding to the exis­ting employ­ment con­tract, you pro­vi­de your work per­for­mance accor­ding to the contract. 
  4. Your employ­er does not react? Send a writ­ten remin­der!
    Inform your employ­er in wri­ting about the aspects men­tio­ned abo­ve. The writ­ten form is important so that you have pro­of. Set a dead­line for your boss, but con­ti­nue to be poli­te and coope­ra­ti­ve. After all, you usual­ly want to con­ti­nue working for your employer.
  5. If not­hing helps: com­plain!
    If all else fails, the employ­er does not react and talks (pos­si­bly also with the works coun­cil) have not led to suc­cess, the only opti­on is to take legal action befo­re the labour court.

Lawy­er Jörg Zitz­mann has beau­tiful­ly pre­sen­ted the facts of the case in the You­Tube chan­nel of the Aca­de­my for Secu­ri­ty:

Why do so many par­ti­ci­pan­ts fail the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on? (§ 34a GewO)

Why do so many participants fail the expert knowledge examination? (§ 34a GewO)

What are the reasons why so many exami­nees fail the Cham­ber of Indus­try and Com­mer­ce (IHK) exami­na­ti­on in the secu­ri­ty industry?

This ques­ti­on is also posed by Jörg Zitz­mann and Kai Delio­mi­ni in the recom­men­da­ble Pod­cast for pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty (Video below!).

Both Jörg Zitz­mann as well as Kai Delio­mi­ni are very well known in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty industry.
Among other things, both are repre­sen­ted in IHK exami­na­ti­on com­mit­tees in the field of pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty, are acti­ve as aut­hors of books for the pre­pa­ra­ti­on of the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on and are repre­sen­ted with many hel­pful vide­os on You­Tube and in podcasts.

Every second or third per­son fails the 34a test!

With not infre­quent fail­ure rates bet­ween 30 and 50%, the ques­ti­on natu­ral­ly ari­ses: What’s the reason?
Some fac­tors for suc­cess or fail­ure are obvious. Some pro­blems can be sol­ved quick­ly and easi­ly, some sim­ply requi­re inten­si­ve lear­ning, prac­ti­ce and per­se­ver­ance. Befo­re I go on to point out what I con­sider to be the main (mis)success fac­tors, here is the very inte­res­t­ing con­ver­sa­ti­on bet­ween Jörg Zitz­mann and Kai Delio­mi­ni on YouTube:

My top 5 reasons why so many peo­p­le fail the writ­ten and oral IHK spe­cia­list know­ledge examination

From my expe­ri­ence, the fol­lo­wing fac­tors are the main reasons for fail­ure with the “34a-licence”:

  1. Lack of moti­va­ti­on / lack of interest
    Many par­ti­ci­pan­ts do not see any added value in the exam. They have no real inte­rest in the con­tent, so they don’t want to learn at all. This is par­ti­cu­lar­ly pro­no­un­ced among peo­p­le who are “sent” by their employ­er or the employ­ment agen­cy and are not actual­ly inte­res­ted in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty sec­tor at all. But even if the par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on its­elf is of their own accord: The exami­na­ti­on is often not seen as an oppor­tu­ni­ty but as a neces­sa­ry evil. Lack of moti­va­ti­on and inte­rest, howe­ver, are dia­me­tri­cal­ly oppo­sed to exam success.
  2. No suf­fi­ci­ent pre­pa­ra­ti­on of the content
    Some peo­p­le take the exam light­ly. Mul­ti­ple-choice ques­ti­ons with pre-set ans­wers to tick off and only 50% neces­sa­ry cor­rect ans­wers to pass — what could go wrong, you ask yours­elf. But far from it. The legal topics in par­ti­cu­lar are tough. In addi­ti­on, the­re is exci­te­ment, espe­ci­al­ly in the oral exam, and ques­ti­ons whe­re you may have to think a litt­le out­side the box. If you don’t have the neces­sa­ry know­ledge and thus the con­fi­dence to act, you will quick­ly be eli­mi­na­ted. Com­pre­hen­si­ve pre­pa­ra­ti­on is the be-all and end-all for exam success!
  3. Insuf­fi­ci­ent know­ledge of German
    A lot has alre­a­dy been asked and said about Ger­man lan­guage skills. One thing is cer­tain: many peo­p­le who work in the secu­ri­ty sec­tor are not nati­ve spea­k­ers of Ger­man. Mul­ti­l­in­gua­lism is often important for the job, but so is suf­fi­ci­ent know­ledge of Ger­man. This is becau­se the exami­na­ti­on is offe­red exclu­si­ve­ly in Ger­man and you must also be able to com­mu­ni­ca­te con­fi­dent­ly in Ger­man in your ever­y­day work as a secu­ri­ty guard. Legal texts are writ­ten in dif­fi­cult lan­guage, “offi­ci­a­le­se” is usual­ly just as dif­fi­cult to under­stand, and the exam ques­ti­ons some­ti­mes depend on indi­vi­du­al words that can chan­ge the mea­ning in one direc­tion or ano­ther or pro­vi­de hints for solutions.
  4. Struc­tu­re and man­ner of the exami­na­ti­on are unclear
    Many peo­p­le are not com­ple­te­ly clear about the frame­work con­di­ti­ons of the exam. But only if you know which topics are important and how, and how the exam is struc­tu­red, can you prepa­re for it spe­ci­fi­cal­ly and effi­ci­ent­ly. For exam­p­le, the­re are topics that you can quick­ly get over, which can usual­ly be ans­we­red with com­mon sen­se. Some topics, on the other hand, count twice and some requi­re more inten­si­ve stu­dy. In addi­ti­on, the­re are empi­ri­cal values for the oral exami­na­ti­on and tac­ti­cal tips for working through test ques­ti­ons, which should be con­vey­ed by a com­pe­tent lec­tu­rer or aut­hor, for example.
  5. Dif­fi­cult indi­vi­du­al conditions
    Of cour­se, peo­p­le are dif­fe­rent. Ever­yo­ne has dif­fe­rent per­so­nal pre­re­qui­si­tes and the gene­ral con­di­ti­ons (e.g. fami­ly obli­ga­ti­ons, free time for lear­ning, lear­ning envi­ron­ment, etc.) also play a signi­fi­cant role in suc­cess and fail­ure. You may also know peo­p­le who can memo­ri­se things with a “quick glan­ce” and recall this know­ledge at the snap of a fin­ger. Others, on the other hand, find this signi­fi­cant­ly more dif­fi­cult. Some peo­p­le also have no pro­blem at all spea­king in front of others in an exam situa­ti­on, most are natu­ral­ly ten­se, some par­ti­ci­pan­ts suf­fer down­right from exam anxiety.

Ask yours­elf to what ext­ent the points abo­ve app­ly to you, how you can avo­id mista­kes in your pre­pa­ra­ti­on and com­pen­sa­te for any defi­ci­ts. You can find more infor­ma­ti­on on this right here in the sub­ject know­ledge infor­ma­ti­on por­tal num­e­rous tips and Links to other sites or media such as You­Tube.

The latest book tips for the 34a: