Et is the biggest labor market reform in 20 years: On January 1st, the unpopular “Hartz IV” basic security system will become citizen income. The traffic light government and the opposition fought over the law until shortly before. The CDU chairman Friedrich Merz threatened a blockade and described the citizens’ allowance as “pure trauma management of the SPD”. The FDP accused the Union of spreading “fake news”. A solution was only found in the mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat.
The reform should not only give beneficiaries more money. The relationship between the employees in the job centers and the unemployed should also change fundamentally: they should work together more trustingly and decide together how to proceed. According to the principle “training before a temporary job”, professional training is better promoted, so that the focus is more on sustainable integration in work. Sanctions against uncooperative benefit recipients are still possible from the start under pressure from the Union.
What are those saying about the reform that affects them most? Visit to an educational institution at the Groß-Gerau job center and the Frankfurter Tafel in Höchst: Here people who are currently receiving unemployment benefit II tell us about their experiences. What is it like living on Hartz IV, what do you expect from the reform of basic security, what are your wishes?
“Over the years I’ve gotten into a downward loop”
Dejan Alimpijevic recently attended a course at the educational institution AVM in Rüsselsheim. After the course, on a cold Wednesday morning, he talks about his current situation: “I’ve been out of my job for a long time, over the years I’ve gotten into a downward loop.” Alimpijevic completed an apprenticeship as an electronics technician at Opel. He was also taken on there, albeit for assembly work: “You get bored there,” he explains. He worked on the assembly line for ten years before finally resigning: the work had become too monotonous in the long run.
Various temporary jobs followed, for example in a Siemens switchover plant, as an electrician with temporary employment agencies and in a call center. Then he became unemployed. There were several reasons for this, says Alimpijevic: “I’ll be honest, I didn’t care enough. The job center also made it too easy for me, they didn’t put any pressure on me. But I needed pressure, so I sunk.” The friendly man talks very openly about the vicious circle he then got into: Without a job you become lazy, the laziness affects your private life, your body, your mental life Health. Alimpijevic reflects: “I notice myself how my speech sometimes falters. It’s scary that I’m searching for words, I didn’t used to be like that.”
He attributes this development to the fact that friendships have broken up and he lacks social contacts. For him, the course is initially about sounding out ways back into work. What kind of work is even possible? What interests him? “I’ve never been lucky enough to find a job that fulfills me,” says Alimpijevic. That should change now. Above all, he wants one thing from the job center: more individual support that offers him orientation when looking for a job. “First I have to figure out what I could do, recognize my strengths.”