Regulation is back in business in Germany. After 15 years since the measure was annulled, the German Parliament voted Thursday, December 12, to reinstate the need for the Meisterpflicht, or master craftsperson certificate, a designation that would allow the craftsperson to start their own business. The move is in part of an overall movement to curtail over a decade’s worth of deregulation.
According to the Guardian, trade workers in 12 professions including “tilers, organ builders and makers of wooden toys” as well as “coopers, signmakers, parquet flooring installers, interior designers and glass refiners” will have to obtain the certificate designation before they can branch out on their own.
Critics of the move to reinstate the Meisterpflicht said it would stifle competition and hinder upward mobility in these professions. There is also concern that holding back business with this kind of requirement may also affect German crafts workers in international markets. However, professional trade and craft groups were on the side of regulation, saying the move to get rid of the certificate led to poorer quality work, a lack of trained apprentices and failing businesses. There’s also support from political groups who say the return of the Meister program will boost quality and help skilled crafts workers in ever-competitive job markets. Workers from outside of Germany would not be held to the same law, as long as they can prove at least five year’s worth of work experience.