After weeks of discussions, it is now clear that citizen income will be introduced in Germany in the coming year. After the Bundestag, the Bundesrat now also approved the social reform. The Union had rejected the original plans of the traffic light coalition.
It is a central project of the traffic light coalition: citizen income. It should therefore replace the previous Hartz IV system. It will be introduced in Germany next year. After the Bundestag, the Bundesrat also approved the social reform on Friday.
The payments in the basic security will increase by more than 50 euros on January 1st. Single people will receive 502 euros in the future. Significant parts of the reform will come into force on July 1st. The job centers should be able to take better care of the unemployed. The placement in permanent work instead of simple helper jobs should be better than before.
Traffic light coalition and Union parties agree on citizen money
To this end, those affected should be given further qualifications to a greater extent or begin training or retraining. Many so-called instructions on legal consequences, which Post from the job center has so far acted as a deterrent for many, are to be deleted. In addition, the recipients of basic security will be able to earn more in the future – for example with a mini-job.
The resolutions were preceded by a mediation process between the Bundestag and Bundesrat. The Union had rejected the original plans of the traffic light coalition. The CDU and CSU complained that the unemployed were not encouraged enough to participate. The Union no longer saw the balance between funding and demanding. In the Federal Council, the citizens’ income fell through first.
Under pressure from the Union, the possible sanctions for breaches of duty were tightened, contrary to the original draft by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD). Such cuts in citizen income are staggered from January and can be up to a maximum of 30 percent if, contrary to what has been agreed, the unemployed do not apply for a job or take part in a training measure, for example.
Those affected may also keep a little less money they have saved than initially planned. This so-called protective assets amount to 40,000 euros in a “waiting period” of one year. Other people in a so-called community of needs may each own 15,000 without being taken into account. Retirement provision and housing initially remain largely untouched.
Still Hartz or about the inequality of the poor
In the Bundestag, 557 MPs voted for the changes that the Mediation Committee of the Bundestag and Bundestag had approved. An informal round of the traffic light coalition and the Union had negotiated the compromise. The AfD therefore criticized the procedure as unconstitutional. Finally, the citizen’s allowance was given the green light in the Bundesrat.
Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz sees the planned citizen’s allowance as a turning point in socio-political terms. The SPD politician told the magazine Focus:
“This reform is a milestone in social policy in Germany.”
It is about helping those who have lost their jobs to find a job. “This reform focuses on helping the unskilled long-term unemployed,” emphasized Scholz.
For days there has been sharp criticism of the planned reform from the ranks of the left. In a joint statement by party chairmen Janine Wissler and Martin Schirdewan and parliamentary group leaders Dietmar Bartsch and Amira Mohamed Ali, supported by party representatives from countries with left-wing government participation, it says:
“The citizen money is not an overcoming of Hartz IV.”
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It is recognized that the reform sets “new accents”, including the priority for education and further training, but: “Basic security must be poverty-proof and must no longer be tied to sanctions.” From the point of view of the left and the left-wing government representatives from Berlin, Bremen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Thuringia, “further steps towards the fundamental overcoming of Hartz IV” are necessary in the short term.
Die Linke explained that “everything will be done in the German Bundestag, through the left-wing states in the Bundesrat and through our left-wing state governments to achieve the system change”. For the left, this includes “a sanction-free minimum security of 1,200 euros”.
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