Money blessing under the Christmas tree: December brings many employees a 13th salary. And what about Hartz IV recipients? Are you entitled to a Christmas bonus?
Berlin – Christmas tree, candles and of course gifts for the children and relatives: Christmas is just around the corner – and with that there are also many extra costs. Almost half of the families in Germany cover the additional expenses with the Christmas bonus, which is usually paid out by the employer in December. But how do the almost five million Hartz IV recipients do it? Do they also receive a subsidy in addition to the standard rate – similar to the Corona or Children’s leisure bonus*? For many unemployed and top-ups, this is exactly the question that arises just in time for the 2021 festival.
|Financial aid for the unemployed:||Unemployment benefit II (called Hartz 4)|
|Introduced:||January 1, 2005|
|Legal basis:||Second book of social legislation|
The bitter truth is: Hartz IV recipients do not have a general claim – even if exceptions confirm the rule, as can be seen from a report by the portal “Gegen Hartz”. According to this, the recipients of social assistance received a Christmas allowance every year until 2005. But since Hartz IV reform* is over. The Social Security Code (SGB) II, which serves as the basis, no longer provides for a bonus. Municipalities can only grant this voluntarily, but in recent years this should only have been the case in Burghausen, Bavaria, according to the media report.
Hartz IV: First corona bonus, then Christmas bonus? ALG II recipients can count on this
This is absurd for the Left Party. For example, the former party leader Katja Kipping complained about the situation years ago and demanded a Christmas bonus for everyone. “Instead of appealing for more compassion and charity in its Christmas speeches, the federal government could set a real example and make a tangible contribution to more social justice,” she told the news portal focus.de.
The left even had a specific proposal ready: every employee should receive at least half of their monthly salary as their 13th salary. For an unemployed person that would amount to just over 200 euros. Because according to the current status, a single Hartz recipient receives a standard rate of 446 euros.
But the demands of the left fizzled out unheard. In any case, the Christmas bonus regularly provides a lot of fuel. In economically difficult times, the bonus is often canceled. Because it is a voluntary service with which an employer generally rewards the work performance of its employees. There is no legal obligation. On average, only every second employee in Germany receives the wage increase, mostly if there is a collective agreement.
Standard rate: Hartz IV recipients are not entitled to Christmas subsidies
In contrast to Hartz IV recipients, some top-ups are currently enjoying a Christmas bonus. But be careful: If the marginally employed, who have to supplement their salary with social benefits, receive a Christmas bonus from their employer, this can be offset against the Hartz IV rate.
For those affected, December threatens to be a sad month. The standard rate from which the gifts must then be denied will be increased in January 2022 and already paid on December 30, 2021*. But the increase is only three euros, which, in the opinion of trade unions and social associations, does not even compensate for inflation. Of the Surcharge is a “sheer mockery”*, grumbled the Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband recently.
Bürgergeld: The increase in the rates and the abolition of Hartz IV will no longer come before Christmas
Indeed the cost of living is currently rising rapidly*. Spending on electricity, petrol and gas broke new records in September. And food prices in supermarkets are also rising sharply. A broad alliance of associations is therefore calling for the Hartz IV standard rates to be increased to at least 600 euros. But even this demand will probably go unheeded – although many Germans would even consider a standard rate of 811 euros to be justified*.
In Berlin, the SPD, FDP and the Greens are currently negotiating the formation of a traffic light coalition after the federal election. The coalitionists have already agreed on that Abolition of the Hartz IV system and the introduction of a new citizen benefit*. However, it has already leaked from the negotiations that the monthly rates will only improve slightly. In conversation is one Increase by initially 31 euros*. But even if that Citizens’ money reform is coming*, for this year it brings no more relief to the preparations for the party. * Kreiszeitung.de and 24hamburg.de are an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.
List of rubric lists: © Wolfgang Kumm / dpa
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