One-fifth of households pay domestic help under the table

Almost one-fifth of the 40 million German households has paid domestic help under the table at least once, according to a study published by opinion research centre TNS Emnid on Monday.

One-fifth of households pay domestic help under the table
Photo: DPA

Despite Germany’s reputation for orderly conduct, 18 percent of the 2,091 people surveyed admitted they had paid a babysitter or housekeeper off the books. Some 79 percent said they didn’t feel guilty about doing so.

Even though Schwarzarbeit, or illegal employment, is not a trivial offense, many people still seem to pay their housekeepers in cash to avoid tax issues.

Some 27 percent said they thought they could save money with unregistered household help, but according to Erik Thomsen, head of the job centre of the German pension insurance fund, registering household help for under €400 per month creates very few costs for taxpayers. Since 2009, almost 20 percent of such expenses can even be claimed in tax returns instead of the previous 10 percent, he said.

The bureaucratic hassle is actually quite minimal for registering household help too, he added, explaining that employees also stand to profit from the corresponding accident insurance, leave and sick pay.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.