• Germany edition
 
Thrifty ministers sleep in offices to save cash
Manuela Schwesig (l) and Ursula von der Leyen (r) both regularly sleep in their offices rather than renting in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Thrifty ministers sleep in offices to save cash

Published: 17 Feb 2014 10:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Feb 2014 10:21 GMT+01:00

Family Minister Manuela Schwesig is one of several cabinet members who regularly spends the night in her office rather than rent a flat in the capital, Der Spiegel magazine revealed on Sunday.  

The ministry room, which is kitted out with a bed, a chest of drawers, a shower and access to a kitchen, serves as the Social Democrat (SPD) politician's home from home while parliament is in session.

The room was built while Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) was family minister. The current defence minister now sleeps on a narrow bed in a tiny 7.4-square-metre corridor in her new workplace, a ministry spokesman told the magazine.

CLICK HERE for The Local's Politics section

Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Labour Minister Andrea Nahles (both SPD) also stay overnight in their offices, according to the report.

"With their abundant salary ministers should be in a position to rent a flat in the capital," head of the parliamentary budget committee and member of the far-left party Gesine Lötzsch told the magazine.

The ministers do not have to pay rent on the accommodation, but must declare up to €221 a month "fringe benefit" on their tax returns for using the rooms.

Meanwhile, lawyers questioned whether ministers were legally allowed to move into their offices full time.

"If a minister sleeps on a sofa bed once in a while there can be no objections," said Berlin-based law professor Ulrich Battis.

"If a minister moves in long term to a whole flat in the ministry, that's highly problematic."

A German government minister earns around €14,000 a month on top of benefits and expenses.

READ MORE: Minister: Taxpayers will fund 32-hour week

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Kidnapped German freed in Nigeria
Photo: DPA

Kidnapped German freed in Nigeria

A German national who was kidnapped by gunmen last week in southwest Nigeria has been released, his employer, the construction firm Julius Berger, told AFP. READ  

Fall of the Wall - 25 years
See how Berlin has changed since Wall fell
The East Side gallery in Friedrichshain. Photo: DPA

See how Berlin has changed since Wall fell

Germany is gearing up to celebrate 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9th 1989. The city has changed more than any other in Europe in that time, as these 11 photos of scenes from then and now show. READ  

Conservatives agree on foreigner road toll
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt. Photo: DPA

Conservatives agree on foreigner road toll

UPDATE: Germany's conservative alliance has finally agreed to charge foreign motorway users a toll and hopes to raise €500 million a year, but critics say their plan isn't roadworthy. READ  

Court gives Autobahn shooter ten years' jail
The Autobahn shooter faces judges at the beginning of his trial in August. Photo: DPA

Court gives Autobahn shooter ten years' jail

A trucker who fired hundreds of bullets at vehicles and drivers on German motorways over five years was sentenced to ten and a half years in prison on Thursday. READ  

Soldiers get more cash and flexi-time
The Bundeswehr hopes the reforms will make it a more attractive employer. Photo: DPA

Soldiers get more cash and flexi-time

Germany's military hopes to become the most attractive employer in the country with better pay and more part-time work in a series of reforms agreed by ministers on Wednesday. READ  

Strikes cost Lufthansa €170 million
A passenger waits at Düsseldorf Airport which was hit by a Lufthansa strike last Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Strikes cost Lufthansa €170 million

Lufthansa, Europe's biggest airline, cut its profit forecast for 2015 on Thursday and said a series of pilot strikes in Germany this year had cost it €170 million. READ  

Fall of the Wall - 25 years
'Little Berlin' remembers fall of its wall
Tractors not tanks at Mödlareuth on the Bavaria-Thuringia border. Photo: DPA

'Little Berlin' remembers fall of its wall

Germany, November 1989: Snow falls as an excited crowd breaks through the Wall and people tearfully embrace loved ones after decades of living apart. But this is Mödlareuth - population 50 - not Berlin. READ  

Police in manslaughter trial over woman's death
The two policemen (pixelated) and their lawyers in court. Photo: DPA

Police in manslaughter trial over woman's death

Two policemen in western Germany are on trial for manslaughter for allegedly standing by as a woman was gunned down by her husband. READ  

German jets scrambled to face Russian planes
A German Eurofighter. Photo: DPA

German jets scrambled to face Russian planes

German Eurofighters were scrambled on Tuesday to intercept seven Russian planes flying over the Baltic Sea in international airspace. READ  

States sign Berlin deal to fight tax evasion
Finance ministers from 50 countries pose for a photo in Berlin after signing the agreement. Photo: DPA

States sign Berlin deal to fight tax evasion

More than 80 countries signed an agreement in Berlin on Wednesday that could end banking secrecy in the global battle against tax evasion and fraud, even though critics pointed to shortcomings in the deal. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Society
Germans are wide of the mark on immigration
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Want to study in Germany? These are the subjects to choose
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles from British Airways
Photo: DPA
Society
Halloween: Where are the spookiest spots?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Who wants to work in Germany? A third of the world
Photo: DPA
Society
'We can't allow a proxy war on German streets'
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: DPA
Society
QUIZ: How well do you know Germany?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,520
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd