Social: Mediation Committee seals citizen income compromise

Millions of people in need can hope for higher government benefits and more thorough support from the job centers in the new year.

Social: Mediation Committee seals citizen income compromise

Millions of people in need can hope for higher government benefits and more thorough support from the job centers in the new year. After the basic agreement between the traffic light coalition and the CDU/CSU opposition, the mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat voted in favor of the planned citizens' allowance in an amended version on Wednesday evening. This was announced by the committee chair, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig. The meeting lasted only an hour and a half.

The core of the reform will remain after the mediation process, said the SPD politician after the meeting in Berlin. "That's good news." Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (also SPD) emphasized: "Today it is clear: Citizens' income will come on January 1st - Hartz IV will go." Heil spoke of the largest social reform in two decades. The law now has to be confirmed by the Bundestag and the federal chambers this Friday. This is considered safe.

Citizens' income is to start at the beginning of the year with significantly higher standard rates in basic security. Significant parts of the reform are not to come into force until July 1: The job centers are to draw up a cooperation plan with each and every unemployed person concerned, in which the planned path back to regular work is determined.

"Equal Cooperation"

SPD parliamentary group manager Katja Mast said: "The core of citizen money is cooperation on an equal footing." FDP deputy head Johannes Vogel also spoke of "good news" because performance will be more worthwhile for those affected in the future thanks to more generous rules on additional income. "That is the core of this reform for a more modern and fairer basic security." Green parliamentary group leader Britta Haßelmann said that the basic income was also in the interests of business and trade, which were often desperately looking for workers.

The CDU labor market expert Hermann Gröhe said that it was important for the Union to strike a balance between promoting and demanding. The Union had prevailed over the traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP that job centers can sanction those affected in the event of breaches of duty more severely and earlier than originally planned with cuts in benefits. In addition, benefit recipients should be allowed to keep less of their own assets.

The left rejected the compromise in the mediation committee. The Bundestag member Gesine Lötzsch said: "Hartz IV has been renamed." The Union has worsened the inadequate reform.

Scholz defends reform against criticism

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had previously said in the general debate in the Bundestag: "We will ensure that work is worth more than at any time in a CDU-led federal government." Scholz defended the reform against previous criticism from the Union. What distinguishes the federal government and the CDU and CSU is "apparently the image that we have of the citizens of our country". CDU and CSU had criticized regulations as too mild.

In the current crisis, many people are not only worried about high energy and food prices, but above all about their jobs and the future of their business, said Scholz. "That shows one thing very clearly: the citizens want to work and they want to be able to make a decent living from their work." The mediation committee had been called because the Bundesrat, unlike the Bundestag, had not approved Heil's draft.

The labor and social union, in which employees of the job center are organized, praised the compromise. "We think it's positive that the trust period has been abolished. It would have set the wrong incentives," said vbba boss Waldemar Dombrowski to the portal "The Pioneer". Berlin's Senator for Social Affairs, Katja Kipping (left), on the other hand, called the compromise on the RBB station radioeins "a deterioration in all points".