The social reform can start: The federal cabinet clears the way for the introduction of citizen income in Germany. In addition to higher standard rates, the unemployed and those in need should also be treated more fairly in the future. Menacing speeches should give way, further training should be strengthened.
The federal cabinet has set the standard rate for future citizens' income at 502 euros. The cabinet approved the draft law of the Federal Ministry of Labour. The previous Hartz IV rates will then be increased by more than 50 euros from January 1, 2023 - with a new name.
For the first time, a new method is used for the calculation, which also calculates the expected and not just the past inflation for the Hartz IV standard rates. This change had previously been decided by the coalition committee of the SPD, Greens and FDP.
In addition, job seekers in the job centers should be exposed to less pressure in the future. The principle according to which placement in a job has priority is to be abolished. Instead, further training should be strengthened. In any case, the costs for the apartment should be covered in full for the first two years. Savings of up to 60,000 euros should also be allowed to be kept during this time. In addition, no sanctions should be imposed in the first six months if, for example, a job offer is rejected.
The employers and the opposition Union had sharply criticized the reform. Employer President Rainer Dulger spoke of sending the wrong signal to those on low incomes. It is also disputed that the sanctions for violating the conditions associated with receiving social benefits are reduced.
Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil rejected the accusation that the citizen's allowance was largely paid without the recipient's own commitment. "The issue of duties to cooperate remains. But we focus on where it is necessary," said the SPD politician on Deutschlandfunk. "And I'll say it clearly: People who chronically don't keep appointments can also expect legal consequences in the new system. But the spirit of the new system is not one of distrust, but of encouragement, of empowerment."
Heil also referred to the increase in the minimum wage on October 1st. In addition, low-income earners could also receive housing benefit, he said. A further qualification should also be rewarded in the citizen's allowance. In August 2022, around 5.4 million people in Germany received basic security benefits for jobseekers.