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Minister says Hartz IV unfairly penalises teen summer jobs

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Minister says Hartz IV unfairly penalises teen summer jobs
Photo: DPA
09:57 CET+01:00
Children of unemployed parents should be able to take holiday jobs without the additional income affecting their family's Hartz IV welfare payments under a move to fix an “incomprehensible” flaw in the system, Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle said Wednesday.

Brüderle told the Passauer Neue Presse that the government wanted to encourage people to take work rather than welfare, but aspects of the current system were actively discouraging them.

Notably, young students who take a holiday job risk affecting their parents' Hartz IV payments by earning additional income. To fix this, the government is considering new regulations for Hartz IV recipients' additional income, the paper reported.

“We are discussing how we will bring more people back into work,” he said. “Effort must again be recognised. That applies, by the way, also for children of Hartz IV recipients. Earnings from holiday jobs should no longer be deducted from the benefits of the parents.

“No person could find it comprehensible if the state took away what students earn through holiday jobs, if it were for a summer course, a computer or a guitar. We should change that.”

Brüderle's comments come amid a fierce debate over the Hartz IV system of welfare benefits and the value of work against welfare. In February, Germany's constitutional court ruled that the basis on which the system of payments was calculated was flawed and ordered a parliamentary review.

This sparked a heated discussion about the generosity or otherwise of present benefit rates in which the pro-business Free Democrats party, to which Brüderle belongs, argued that the value of work was not being properly recognized.

And just this week, a federal court in Kassel ruled that Hartz IV welfare recipients should not get additional money to clothe their growing children. The court knocked back a claim by a couple who wanted a one-time payment of €448 on top of their regular welfare to meet the cost of their children's wardrobes.

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