Women in West Germany work more low-paid mini-jobs – positions exempt from taxes and national insurance contributions with a monthly wage cap of €450 – than any other group in the country, according to the Hans-Böckler economic and social research institute.
In some areas in North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland Palatinate and Lower Saxony mini-jobs make up as much as a third of all positions and one in four working women in the west are in low-paid jobs. In some western areas this figure is as high as 40 percent.
In the east of the country, however, mini-jobs are much rarer overall and just 16 percent of working women have one. The study’s authors said this could be thanks to a longer history of women in full time employment in East Germany.
“Women in East Germany retained this stronger employment orientation after German unification,” said study leader Alexander Herzog-Stein.
Meanwhile in the west, the authors suggested, traditional work-sharing roles where men work full-time and women juggle part-time work and caring for the family are more widespread.
“In the countryside it is mostly harder to combine family and career than in cities.” Herzog-Stein told the paper. “That’s because of unsatisfactory childcare.”
Family Minister Kristina Schröder said that mini-jobs were misogynistic as women returning to part-time work after having a child often get stuck in mini-jobs without the prospect of full-time work later on.
“Instead we see a sticking effect: once a mini-job, always a mini-job,” wrote Schröder in a new book to be released this month.