Temporary work instead of an effortless hartz iv income

Josef Schlarmann, chairman of the Union for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, intervenes in the welfare state debate

Effortless prosperity is not Hartz IV, says Dr. Josef Schlarmann, the chairman of the Union of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (MIT). On the other hand, Schlarmann told Wirtschaftswoche that it is already an effortless income. Since this group earns its income at the expense of others, it is necessary to ask about those who can work but do not want to. The temporary employment industry should help in the search.

If possible, those who live on social benefits should also provide something in return – this basic idea runs through large parts of the current debate on the future of the welfare state in Germany. The idea of providing this service in return in the form of social work in the communities has been a topic of discussion again in the SPD since Hannelore Kraft. In principle, there is agreement between the black-yellow-red coalition on this ie, although there are differences when it comes to the specifics.

While the Social Democrats are talking about job offers that can be accepted voluntarily, Schlarmann sees solidarity as a "Mutual obligation" and demands that the already existing regulation, which obliges Hartz IV recipients to accept any reasonable job, be implemented more consistently. According to Schlarmann, temporary employment agencies could also offer jobs in addition to the municipalities.

In an interview with Telepolis, Josef Schlarmann confirmed his ideas. His proposal to include the temporary employment industry was a reaction to the criticism of the social welfare associations that the municipalities could not provide these jobs at all. However, since he wanted Hartz IV recipients to receive a job offer as soon as possible in the future, the temporary employment industry should fill the existing gap. "We have a temporary employment industry that is well versed in the placement of workers. And of course not only in the placement, but also in the further education and preparation of workers for their future job. Why shouldn’t we go down this private road to solve the problem??", said Schlarmann to Telepolis.

The idea is not new: Hans-Werner Sinn is also a proponent of this combination of municipal employment and increased involvement of the temporary employment industry in the placement of workers. "Extraordinarily sensible" is the concept of the ifo president. Because experience shows that "Unemployed people who apply for Hartz IV immediately withdraw their application if they are immediately offered a job (about 15 percent)" were. The MIT chairman expects this to ease the burden on the public budget.

A model sees Schlarmann thereby in Sweden. This country is always a role model only when it comes to nationalization, he criticizes. But the Swedes went a completely different way. "In Swedish municipalities, many tasks are carried out privately, by private companies," asks Schlarmann. The administration only sets up and monitors the measures and sets the legal framework. But the implementation is completely in private hands."

Schlarmann does not fear that the expansion of municipal employment and temporary work will encourage wage dumping. He is primarily concerned with charitable and municipal work in the social sector. "How many handicraft enterprises have I there still, which are active there?", asks Schlarmann and immediately answers the question himself: "Maybe that’s a gardening company that gets a contract from the municipality to keep the local grounds in order." But that, according to MIT’s president, cannot be the reason for leaving a major problem unresolved. Simple jobs, such as transporting, raking or sweeping, are hard to fill at the moment, he says. According to Schlarmann, ALG II recipients could in future be placed in these jobs via temporary employment agencies. Also in the care this is conceivable in such ranges, in which no trained care workers were needed. Here, the previously unemployed could accompany elderly people on walks, help them clean up or do cleaning work.

Schlarmann is convinced of the necessity of his proposals: "The astonishing thing is, and this shows me that the path is the right one, that our social associations do not want this because a piece of their competence would be lost. Yet this step could be very successful." After all, this would create competition in this sector as well and benchmark.

But not only the social associations, but also the employees in this field were allowed to be skeptical about Schlarmann’s demands. Finally, an expansion of the labor supply in the care sector has increased the prere on the professionals employed there – attempts to circumvent the minimum wage in the care sector of 7.50 in the east and 8.50 in the west, which will apply from July 2010, by using low-skilled temporary workers seem conceivable.

Schlarmann himself speaks out against the minimum wage in the care sector. This was "Pure protectionism" and displace "unwelcome competitors out of the care market". For Schlarmann is certain: "The minimum nursing wage ignores the fact that there is a growing nursing market in Germany that offers nursing services below the agreed minimum wage." The expansion of temporary work seems to be a means of "Competitive disadvantages for private providers" to compensate.

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