sanctions against Hartz IV recipients constitutional? This question has to deal with on Tuesday in Karlsruhe, the Federal constitutional court. After all, to be deleted due to the power cuts to parts of or the whole of their basic security. Opponents of the unemployment benefit II criticized since its introduction 14 years ago, that it was a violation of human rights, to reduce someone to the subsistence minimum. We explain what it is exactly.

All of the questions in the Overview: What the court has to decide? What are the sanctions for Hartz IV, possible today? Why not, it was examined the constitutionality of the sanctions so far in court? What happens if the court declared the sanctions unconstitutional? What the court has to decide?

The Federal constitutional court has to decide whether benefit cuts for Hartz-IV recipients a reason to violate rights. Specifically, it is an unemployed person who refused to do his assigned Job because he wanted to not be forced to do a work. First of all, the job centre in Erfurt cut him 30 percent of the normal rate. When the man refused a further offer from the Jobcenter, he had received a voucher to trial in the case of an employer, he was reduced to 60 percent of basic security.

The man complained against this sanction, the case ended up at the social court in Gotha. Here, the social judge of the law followed the opinion of the unemployed, and saw both the right to a dignified minimum existence, as well as the fundamental right of professional freedom is violated. In addition, the judges asked themselves the question, whether the power cuts don’t infringe on 40 percent of the subsistence minimum against the right to life and physical integrity. After all, would be under threat with the sanctions on the health of the power earner, because he can’t buy enough to eat.

Because there is a social court is not but for questions of constitutionality, has been appealed to the Federal constitutional court.

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What are the sanctions for Hartz IV, possible today?

Who refers to basic security, you must comply according to the law, obligations. It does not do this, as a disciplinary measure shall be permitted. In paragraph 31 of the Second social code (SGB II), which forms the legal basis for the sanctions. Here are also examples of reductions are: the refusal of a reasonable Job heard about, or, a measure for inclusion in the work, not compete or cancel. Also, cuts are possible, if you can prove that you have “tried enough” to find a new Job.

is Not defined, what counts as “sufficient”. In General, the sanctions will be imposed for three months. The duration may be shortened if the Affected person fails to comply with the obligations later on. Benefits are reduced, many are in Need. The Jobcenter may then grant benefits in kind or food vouchers. If it does, is a matter of discretion.

A difference in the legislature in young Hartz IV makes-Recipients and recipients: While the power cuts in people over 25 years, run in stages, first 30 percent will be removed, by a repetition of 60 percent of the standard rate – that threaten people under the age of 25 already on the first offense, 100-percent penalties. The statistics shows: The Younger ones are more frequently and punished more severely, nearly every second of the total sanction relates to a person under the age of 25. Often, the job centre then takes over only the costs for accommodation and heating, the job center can even decide, even the housing and Heating costs to be reimbursed.

Actually, the legislature of this hardness not want to ensure that young people slipping into a life in long-term unemployment, therefore, the conciliation duty is also very high. It is in Clause 3, paragraph 2, of the SGB II. A study by the Institute for labour market and occupational research (IAB) shows that mediated under the age of 25 actually faster, the harsh sanctions, but often the emotional consequences of leaving, and cause young people to be faster to be homeless. Critics argue that tougher sanctions are likely to be Younger is unconstitutional because of unequal treatment on grounds of age was discriminatory.

most Recently, the job centre have pronounced a little less sanctions than in the previous years. The sanction rate – the ratio of sanctions applied to all working age benefit recipients – is 3.1 percent. In the year 2017 957.000 sanctions were imposed, the Numbers for 2018 are not yet published.

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Why was the constitutionality of the sanctions so far?

Although the unemployment benefit II was introduced together with the possibility of sanctions already 14 years ago, there was not yet the case, the court made it to the Federal Constitution. Thus, the question of the constitutionality can be resolved in Karlsruhe, and must complain either an Affected by all instances or to another court shall submit the question to the Federal constitutional court.

However, for both routes, there are high hurdles. The Sanctioned must have the necessary financial resources for a legal action through the courts, on the other, the case must be so clear that the sanctions are due to other formal reasons are invalid. So you need a case in which the Concerned job offers categorically refuses, because he is forced against the transfer in the Hartz-IV-System-is – not, because there are other reasons for this.

in Addition, If a court reaches the question, is a judge template required, the production of which requires many months of work. For many judges this is simply not affordable. Not to be under the political sensitivity inherent in the rights issue. Some judge and some judge should be afraid to give such a question to Karlsruhe.

Also in this specific case, negotiated on Tuesday by the Federal constitutional court, had to rework the Gothaer social judge: Already in the year 2015, the concrete case was before them, even then they passed on the question of constitutionality to Karlsruhe. However, the Federal constitutional court rejected the first judge’s template due to a formal error. The social court Gotha presented a revised judge template, which now can be decided.

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What happens when the court declared the sanctions unconstitutional?

observers consider it unlikely that the sanctions will be overturned, but parts of it could be unconstitutional. To do this, the tougher penalties for people could belong to under 25 years of age or the total sanctions. However, a Reform of the basic social security is already in the discussion.

Robert Habeck of the Green, for example, had brought a penalty-free guarantee to backup into the conversation, Minister of labour, Hubertus Heil (SPD) has announced a Reform of Hartz IV. Already in may 2018 healing criticized the sanctions. The joint welfare Association requested in June of 2018 for the abolition of the “absurd Hartz-IV-sanctions”.

The German trade Union Federation (DGB) was created in December, a position paper, outlining a possible compromise. Accordingly, the sanctions should be abolished in its present Form, but it should give, in principle, a possibility to demand a counter-performance for the basic security. That is, performance, recipients should be required to actively participate in that you find a job again. In addition, to be paid according to the proposal, the unemployment benefits for longer and thus the equivalence principle of the contribution years.

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