• Germany's news in English

Hamburg battles over 'stove bonus' benefit

The Local · 14 Apr 2015, 11:34

Published: 14 Apr 2015 11:34 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The court case, which starts on Tuesday, concerns a law introduced by the right-wing 'Black-Yellow' coalition between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the predecessor to the current government, in 2012.

Now the current Families Minister, Manuela Schwesig of the Social Democrats (SPD), will have to defend the law, despite having been a vocal opponent of it when it was introduced.

The rule offers parents who choose to keep children between the ages of 15 and 36 months at home rather than in childcare a monthly benefit payment of €150.

Its opponents say it reinforces inequality, since it is more likely to be taken up by economically underprivileged families, especially those with immigrant backgrounds.

Der Tagesspiegel reports that in Berlin 22.4 percent of those who receive the benefit are foreigners, considerably above the 13.4 percent of the capital city's population who don't hold German passports.

When foreign children could be learning German, argue critics, the state is encouraging their parents to keep them at home, thus reinforcing one of the major barriers to employment later in life – language fluency.

Hamburg argues that the law is in contravention of the Constitution because it neglects the state's duty to treat all parents equally.

Parents who send their children to a Kindergarten do not receive money from the state and must also pay for their child's Kindergarten place.

The state counters that Kindergartens are subsidised to the tune of €800 per child per month and that parents are thus indirectly subsidised.

A report commissioned by Hamburg says this line of argument constitutes a break with legal norms: Libraries and museums are subsidised but people who do not use them do not receive money in compensation.

Story continues below…

The Hanseatic state also argues that the law increases inequality between men and women.

95 in every 100 recipients is a woman. The time spent out of work encouraged by the benefit system is detrimental to their career chances, the city state argues.

A ruling on the case is expected in three months.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd