In the dispute over citizen income, an agreement is emerging between the traffic light coalition and the Union. There should be more pressure on those receiving citizenship benefits than the draft law by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has so far provided. Money cuts against help recipients of 30 percent should be possible right from the start if they miss appointments in the job center or do not accept offered jobs, the Union said. This was confirmed by coalition circles.
“There is a very good chance that tomorrow in the mediation committee we will be able to agree on a result that fully meets the Union’s relevant demands,” said deputy parliamentary group leader Hermann Gröhe.
On Monday evening, representatives of the traffic light and the Union negotiated in informal preliminary talks for four hours. At 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning, an agreement was said to have been reached that both sides could live with. The longest dispute is said to have been about reducing the waiting period to 12 months. The Greens in particular are said to have had a hard time with this.
Union have pulled together at federal and state level and have therefore achieved a great success together, said Gröhe.
If the mediation committee should agree to the agreements on Wednesday evening, then one could say that the Union has prevailed, said Stephan Stracke, the labor and social policy spokesman for the Union faction.
The countries with government participation of the Union temporarily stopped the citizens’ income last week in the Bundesrat. This Wednesday, a compromise is to be sealed in the mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat, which could then be decided on Friday in the Bundesrat.
The traffic light coalition wanted to introduce a six-month “trust period” during which only repeated missed appointments at the job center would be punished with a maximum ten percent cut in money. In the old Hartz IV system, up to 30 percent were possible. This should now also apply to citizen income, the trust period will be deleted.
The draft law is also likely to be tightened up for so-called protective assets and waiting periods. Here, the coalition wanted to leave many more assets than before to those who received aid. In the first two years, 60,000 euros plus 30,000 for each additional person in the household. Now the waiting period is to be reduced to twelve months with the more generous regulations. The savings are therefore only 40,000 euros instead of 60,000. It would be capped at 15,000 for each additional person in the household, halving the planned 30,000. A family of four would, for example, come to 85,000 euros, which they do not have to use up before receiving citizenship benefit, instead of the 150,000 previously planned.
Citizens’ income is to replace the Hartz IV system for the unemployed in 2023. The job center employees should then spend less time with formalities and more with looking after people. Because most of the long-term unemployed do not have a professional qualification, in the future, for example, catching up on professional qualifications will have a higher priority than finding a job quickly. In addition, the standard rates are to increase, for a single person from 449 euros to 502 euros per month. The Union also supports this increase without objection.
Because parts of the reform, in particular the higher payments, are to come into force on January 1, the negotiations are being held under time pressure. The Federal Employment Agency had already stated that if they were to pay out more money from January, then they would have to have legal certainty by the end of November, i.e. a new law.