Work: Citizens’ money sanctions: FDP wants to take tougher action

Work: Citizens’ money sanctions: FDP wants to take tougher action

Who one “reasonable work” If the FDP rejects it for no reason, the FDP wants it to be punished more harshly in the future. The latest data shows that so far only a fraction of benefit recipients have been sanctioned.

The FDP is pushing for further tightening of citizens’ money and is thus putting pressure on the coalition partners of the SPD and the Greens. As can be seen from a resolution paper for the party executive committee, those who refuse to work should be able to have their benefits immediately reduced by 30 percent. So far, a step model has applied. At first they had “Picture on Sunday” reported on the paper, which is available to the German Press Agency.

As data from the Federal Employment Agency (BA) shows, so far only a fraction of benefit recipients have been affected by sanctions.

The FDP paper now says: “Anyone who does not fulfill their obligation to cooperate with citizens’ benefits and, for example, refuses reasonable work without good reason should expect an immediate reduction in benefits of 30 percent.” The current regulation stipulates that the job center can withdraw a maximum of 10 percent of the benefits for one month from those receiving citizen’s benefit for the first breach of duty. After that, a 20 percent reduction will initially take effect before there is the possibility of temporarily reducing the benefit by up to 30 percent. That doesn’t go far enough for the FDP.

The “constitutional scope for stricter sanctions” must be exploited, “up to a complete cancellation of benefits”says the proposal, which will be approved by the party’s executive committee on Monday and presented at the party conference next weekend.

Criticism of the reform

Citizens’ money came into force on January 1, 2023 – and replaced the controversial Hartz IV system. A core of the reform is weaker sanction options. With the new system, the federal government wanted to focus on more cooperation with those affected and less on pressure through punishment. A point that is sharply criticized not only by the FDP, but especially by the Union.

Only recently did the federal government – also under the impression of constant criticism – decide on new tightening measures. Since March, job centers have been able to completely cancel the citizen’s benefit for unemployed people for a maximum of two months if they prove to be unemployed “Total objector” highlight. According to the employment agency, this two-month loss of all benefits is only at “repeated” Refusal of reasonable work possible. The number of people actually affected is likely to remain manageable.

Citizens’ benefits were cut for almost 16,000 people who refused to work

From February to December 2023, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) counted 15,774 cases of benefit reductions as a result of refusing to work – with a total of around 5.5 million recipients of citizens’ benefit. The total number of cases in which the job center imposed benefit cuts was just over 226,000 last year. According to the BA, the cuts affected 2.6 percent of those eligible for benefits who were able to work. “This means that 97 out of 100 people do not come into contact with reduced performance”, it said. In the years before the pandemic, the numbers were significantly higher. In 2019, the BA imposed almost 807,000 benefit cuts – almost four times as many as in 2023. According to the agency, one of the reasons for this decline is the weaker sanction options in the citizen’s benefit system.

It remains to be seen whether the latest tightening measures will actually result in a substantial increase in the numbers. According to its own information, Hubertus Heil’s Federal Ministry of Labor (SPD) assumes that “that the new regulation leads to reduced spending and, above all, has a major preventive effect”, as it was said in response to a dpa request. It causes those affected “do not refuse reasonable job offers or do not give up their work beforehand”. This also prevents people from slipping into neediness or remaining needy in the first place.

Labor market experts, however, are critical of the tightening. Enzo Weber from the Institute for Labor Market and Occupational Research (IAB) in Nuremberg recently pointed out in an interview with the dpa that it was not easy “black sheep” can always be clearly identified among those receiving benefits.

Source: Stern

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