The new citizen's income is to be paid out to needy people in Germany on time at the beginning of the year. Thanks to the political agreement reached in November, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) will be in a position to pay out the increased standard rates on time on January 1, BA board member Andrea Nahles told the German Press Agency in Nuremberg.
After lengthy negotiations, the Bundestag and Bundesrat gave the green light in November for the citizen's income, which is to replace Hartz IV in its current form in 2023. "We can work very well with the result," Nahles said. "There are now relatively clear and simple obligations to cooperate and, derived from that, if obligations to cooperate are violated, there are also sanctions."
Under pressure from the CDU/CSU, the possible sanctions for violations of obligations had been tightened compared to the government's original plans. From January, such reductions of the citizen's allowance should also be possible in the case of breaches of duty staggered - so if, for example, someone does not apply for a job or does not address a measure, although that was agreed. The traffic lights had also provided for a sanction option in the event of multiple failures to report to the job center.
Nahles said that sanctions were not the focus for the Federal Agency. Last year, she said, they were imposed in only three percent of cases. "But we also need them sometimes," Nahles said.
DGB leader Yasmin Fahimi told dpa, "An important result of the citizen's income reform is the elimination of placement priority." She added that this was exactly the right approach. "Two-thirds of the previous so-called Hartz IV recipients do not have a vocational qualification." He said that makes it clear how nonsensical debates about the alleged misuse of basic benefits are.
"We have to ensure that these people get the chance to catch up on their education or vocational qualifications so that they can then also be integrated into the labor market in the long term," the DGB leader said.
"If the job centers are to place the unemployed differently in the future, they will have to rely on companies to follow suit," Fahimi continued. "They need to open up new opportunities for people who, for individual reasons, have previously struggled in the labor market." She said she hoped that the shortage of jobs and skilled workers in the economy had led to a change in thinking in some places. In the future, she said, companies should be more willing to work with workers who are not fully trained. "I think something is moving there, but it's not enough yet."
Photo by Scott Graham