Berlin (dpa) – Jobseekers will have to fear fewer Hartz IV sanctions by the middle of next year. On Friday, the Bundesrat approved a suspension of sanctions for breach of obligations, which has already been decided in the Bundestag.
One of the reasons for the moratorium is the citizen benefit planned for 2023 instead of the current Hartz IV system, which should also be linked to the new sanctions regulation. In addition, the legislator must comply with the 2019 ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court.
Possibility to reduce unemployment benefit II by 30%. in the event of breach of obligations, it will be suspended for one year. This applies, for example, to refusing to accept reasonable work. However, in the event of repeated failure to register or failure to meet deadlines, there is a risk that benefits will be reduced by up to 10 percent of the base rate. The act is to enter into force on July 1, 2022.
Criticism of former CEO of BA Scheele
In an interview, outgoing director general of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) Detlef Scheele criticized the change in sanctions for Hartz IV recipients. “It would be better if the government passed the judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court of November 2019 in the form of a law,” the head of BA told “Handelsblatt”.
Judges from Karlsruhe decided in 2019 that if the terms and conditions were violated, the benefits for Hartz IV recipients could be reduced by up to 30 percent. Now reductions of only ten percent are allowed for one year – and then only after the second breach, for example against reporting requirements. The Bundesrat allowed the adoption on Friday of an appropriate suspension of regulations, which had already been decided by the Bundestag.
With the money of the citizens, cuts are possible again
When next year comes the new citizenship benefit, cuts by 30 percent. should be possible again. “It’s hard to understand,” said Scheele. “I don’t want to be an employment office consultant who has to explain this.” 97 percent of benefit beneficiaries would not be sanctioned at all because all requirements would be complied with. Scheele described this as the harm that the focus was once again on sanctions.
Scheele called for caution in assessing new citizens’ incomes. He does not believe that the mere grant of a subsidy to the previous Hartz IV rates would be advisable. “Because even if the standard rates were higher, it would be better to go to work and earn collective wages where possible,” he said. “In any case, the chances were rarely as great as they are now,” Scheele emphasized, bearing in mind the empty job market.
“Count in the face of all employees in employment offices”
Bavaria’s Minister of Social Affairs Ulrike Scharf (CSU) also criticized the federal government’s decision. “Thanks to the sanctions moratorium, it is throwing overboard the principle of our welfare state – the principle of demands,” explained Scharf. A completely wrong signal is sent to benefit recipients who refuse to cooperate: no matter what you do, the employment office will pay you anyway. “The sanction moratorium is therefore not just a withdrawal by the state. It is a slap in the face of all job center employees who try to get people in receipt of benefits back to work every day, ”criticized Scharf.
Criticism also came from Baden-Württemberg: Economy Minister Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut (CDU) stressed: “Sanctions are still needed for the few who persistently refuse to cooperate.” If the duty to cooperate is breached in the long run, the system will be empty, especially for those who need help the most. “The moratorium is not going to help us here, we need swift new legislation and a clear commitment from the federal government to the principle of promoting and demanding,” said Hoffmeister-Kraut.
The leader of parliamentary green groups, Britta Haßelmann, called for an increase in Hitz standard rates for the poorer sections of the population in the face of soaring prices. “No one can close a blind eye to the fact that they need more targeted assistance and, as a first step, adjust to standard rates for basic collateral to compensate for inflation,” said the green politician in the Funke media group newspaper. . The traffic light coalition must also swiftly adopt a civic relief “that protects human dignity and social participation better than it currently provides basic security.”
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