Berlin (dpa) – Following the extended short-time work allowance and simplified Hartz IV access, a new gap in financial protection in the corona crisis must be closed.
Recipients of Hartz IV do not have to fear fines if they make use of the current state aid in the partial lockdown. Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) told the German news agency in Berlin: “We will now clarify that together in the coalition.”
The Federal Council decided in Berlin that employees will also receive an increased working time reduction in the coming year if they have more than three months working time reduction. From the fourth month there is still 70 percent instead of the usual 60 percent of the wages. Working people with children receive 77 instead of 67 percent.
Along with an increase in Hartz rates, the regional chamber also gave the go-ahead for an extension of the simplified access to basic safety, which is already in place during the pandemic. This is intended, for example, for artists who are economically affected by the constraints of public life.
Heil now wants to ensure “that the economic aid of November and December initiated by (Minister of Finance of the SPD) Olaf Scholz, as well as the bridging aid 3 are not counted in the basic income”.
In the case of November aid, grants will be awarded amounting to 75 percent of the average turnover in November 2019. The federal government expects a financial size of 14 to 15 billion euros. There were 28,000 registrations on Friday.
Due to the extension of the partial lockdown, the subsidies will continue to be used as support for December. At the same time, the temporary bridging assistance will be extended until the end of the year until the end of June 2021 – especially for small and medium-sized companies.
For whom is the further planned protection of basic security benefits primarily intended when applying for assistance? Heil explained that it concerns solo and other freelancers, “who have a slump in sales, but who often still depend on basic security for life”.
The Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband welcomed the move. At the same time, he criticized the fact that those who rely solely on basic security are left alone. This affects poor elderly and unemployed people, for example.
“Hubertus Heil is quite right in his demand to the coalition partners of the Union that bridging aid for freelance artists and self-employed persons should not be counted in the basic security provisions,” said director Werner Hesse.
The government is not planning emergency aid for the poorest in this crisis. According to the association, the increase in the Hartz IV standard rates decided by the Federal Council is not sufficient. A single Hartz IV receiver will receive EUR 446 per month in the future – EUR 14 more than before.