Sanctions for the unemployed are pointless, argues German NGO

How can one motivate 4.2 million people to look for jobs? 

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Sanctions for the unemployed are pointless, argues German NGO - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

The "No sanctions" NGO has long argued that punishing welfare recipients is pointless. Now, they are conducting a large-scale experiment to prove it.

They argue that the benefits system that exists in Germany today, and that punishes recipients with welfare cuts if they fail to sign documents in time, or miss some appointments (no matter the reason), does not stimulate people to look for jobs.

Instead, it undermines their sense of security by making them feel powerless. It makes them less confident, and less motivated to look for jobs, and can, in the long run, damage their mental well-being.

According to the NGO this wholly undermines the purpose of unemployment benefits, which are supposed to act as a safety net for people looking for new jobs. 

Details from the story:

  • It was proved earlier this year that welfare cuts  ("sanctions", in German) for the unemployed disproportionately affect people with children.
  • One can face sanctions for things like missing an appointment or failing to sign a document on time.
  • The "No sanctions" NGO is conducting an experiment, compensating the benefit cuts for 250 unemployed, and comparing them to other 250 unemployed people whose benefits also were cut, but who are not going to receive any compensation. In the end, they'll see which group was better at finding jobs.
  • Their previous experiment, with 25 people, already showed that the people who were secure about their welfare payments slept better, and felt more motivated to look for new jobs than those who knew they could face cuts.
  • About 4.2 million Germans now receive "Hartz IV" benefits
  • Social Democrats and Greens already attempted to push a sanction-free version of the welfare system through the German parliament this year, but it did not make it though.
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