Poverty in Germany: children from Hartz IV families clearly disadvantaged
Poverty in Germany Children from Hartz IV families clearly disadvantaged
Children from low-income families are clearly disadvantaged in Germany.
Berlin According to a study, government support for poor families is based too little on children’s needs. That is why it often does not meet its needs, according to the data analysis by the research institute of the Federal Employment Agency on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation, about which "Der Spiegel" reports.
The study shows that children from low-income families are clearly at a disadvantage compared to those from families in secure financial circumstances. According to this, three quarters (76 percent) of children from Hartz IV families do not even take a week off per year; in children in secure circumstances, it is only 21 percent.
On February 22, 2002, the Federal Government under Gerhard Schröder set up a commission called "Commission for Modern Services in the Labor Market" – "Hartz Commission" for short. It is the starting signal for the later Hartz reforms.
Peter Hartz is a former German manager who headed the "Hartz Commission". Until July 2005 he was the Chief Human Resources Officer and member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. The labor market reforms were named after him.
The Commission’s proposals were implemented in four phases (Hartz I to IV) and entered into force between January 1, 2003 and February 1, 2006.
The aim of the commission was to officially halve the unemployment figure of four million at that time within four years. The Commission submitted a report in August 2002.
Hartz I includes an equal opportunity principle: Temporary workers must therefore be employed on the same terms as regular workers of the user company. In plain language: the same working hours, the same wages and the same vacation entitlements.
Hartz II regulates marginal employment relationships: A marginally employed person is anyone who earns up to 400 euros per month. The contribution rate to the health insurance is increased from ten to eleven percent of the gross wage and the employer pays a flat tax of two percent of the gross wage.
The “Third Law for Modern Services on the Labor Market of December 23, 2003” organized the restructuring and conversion of the Federal Employment Agency (Arbeitsamt) into the Federal Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit). The Commission hoped that this would improve efficiency.
As of January 1, 2005, the merger of unemployment benefits and social assistance for the employable was completed. Income was set at a level below the level of social assistance previously applicable.
The Hartz concept’s ambitious goal of reducing unemployment in Germany to two million unemployed was not achieved. Unions criticize the high cuts for Hartz IV recipients.
Accordingly, 54 percent of children at risk of poverty cannot go to the cinema, theater or concert at least once a month, and 31 percent cannot invite friends to dinner at least once. 14 percent have no internet. 10 percent do not have sufficient winter clothing.
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