German government, opposition reach deal on benefit overhaul

Nov 21, 2022, 3:01 PM | Updated: Nov 22, 2022, 5:10 am

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s governing parties and the main opposition bloc reached a compromise Tuesday that should allow an overhaul of the country’s unemployment benefit system — a central policy of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government — to go ahead in somewhat watered-down form.

The reform will replace a system drawn up nearly two decades ago by a center-left government under then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, which tightened benefit rules for the long-term unemployed.

The so-called “Hartz IV” system was part of a package of reforms that was credited with helping make Europe’s biggest economy more robust. It has long been loathed by left-wingers and contributed to years of weakness for the center-left Social Democrats, the party of Schroeder and of Scholz, who now leads a three-party coalition.

The center-right opposition Union bloc objected to Scholz’s original plan on the grounds that it would have reduced pressure for people to take available jobs. Last week, regions where it governs blocked the overhaul in the upper house of parliament, which represents Germany’s 16 state governments.

The government’s proposal foresaw raising the level of benefits from 449 euros ($460) per month to 502 euros. The opposition backed that, but objected to plans to reduce penalties against recipients who balk at taking jobs — particularly in the first six months — and loosen restrictions on assets they can hold.

The compromise the two sides have now reached removes the six-month grace period in which there would have been no penalties, replacing it with a step-by-step model of increasing benefit cuts. It also reduces the level of personal assets that people receiving benefits initially wouldn’t be required to tap into, from 60,000 euros to 40,000 euros.

The plan is for parliament to approve the compromise by the end of this week so that the overhaul can take effect Jan. 1.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Seattle non-profits...

Associated Press

Oregon man convicted of murder in fatal shooting of sheriff’s deputy in Washington state

A jury has convicted an Oregon man of murder in the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Washington state.

17 hours ago

Image: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign rally on Monday, Sept...

Associated Press

Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire

A judge ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House.

1 day ago

FILE - The Amazon logo is displayed, Sept. 6, 2012, in Santa Monica, Calif. Amazon's profitable clo...

Haleluya Hadero, Associated Press

Amazon sued by FTC and 17 states over allegations it inflates online prices and overcharges sellers

The FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon on Tuesday, alleging the e-commerce behemoth uses its position in the marketplace to inflate prices

2 days ago

KYIV, UKRAINE - 2022/09/03: A man looks at an image generated based on the stories of displaced chi...

Associated Press

Tech companies try to take AI image generators mainstream with better protections against misuse

Artificial intelligence tools that can conjure whimsical artwork or realistic-looking images from written commands started wowing the public last year. But most people don't actually use them at work or home.

2 days ago

Image: Actor David McCallum attends an event for "NCIS" during the 2009 Monte Carlo Television Fest...

Associated Press

David McCallum, star of hit series ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘NCIS,’ dies at 90

Actor David McCallum, who was the eccentric medical examiner in the popular "NCIS," has died. He was 90.

2 days ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests indicating a positive result are photographed in New York, April...

Associated Press

Biden administration announces $600M to produce and distribute COVID tests

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is providing $600 million in funding to produce new at-home COVID-19 tests and is restarting a website allowing Americans to again order up to four free tests per household

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

German government, opposition reach deal on benefit overhaul