In its session on Friday, the Bundesrat dealt with some of the central legislative projects of the federal government. These can now be implemented – the state chamber gave the green light for this.
The more than 20 million pensioners can look forward to significantly higher payments the next time they transfer money. As of July 1, retirement benefits will increase by 5.35 percent in western Germany and by 6.12 percent in eastern Germany. Disability pensions are also increasing.
From October 1st, a gross minimum wage of twelve euros per hour will apply in Germany. Almost seven million people in the low-wage sector should benefit from this. The lower wage limit is currently EUR 9.82 and will rise to EUR 10.45 on July 1 as planned. For raising the minimum wage to twelve euros, the federal government bypassed the commission, which is actually responsible for setting it. The mini-job limit is to be raised at the same time from 450 euros to 520 euros.
The 100 billion euro program to modernize the Bundeswehr can start: With the required two-thirds majority, the state chamber voted to anchor the special fund in the Basic Law. The four countries with government participation of the left abstained: Berlin, Bremen, Thuringia and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The Federal Council also gave the go-ahead for the law, which regulates the details of the financing. Plans include the purchase of modern F-35 fighter jets, new corvettes for the Navy and new tanks.
The nursing staff in old people’s homes and hospitals, who were particularly under pressure in the corona pandemic, will again receive a bonus payment intended to reward their special services in the corona pandemic. The bonus is graded according to qualifications, working hours and proximity to care. Full-time employees in direct care for the elderly receive a maximum of 550 euros. Specialists who are particularly stressed in the hospitals get more – in individual cases the bonus can be up to 2500 euros.
The sanctions for breaches of duty by Hartz IV recipients are largely suspended for one year. There should only be penalties in the event of exceptional reporting failures – and then only at a level of ten percent instead of up to 30 percent of the salary. Refusing to accept a job should no longer result in a sanction. The suspension of the Hartz IV sanctions is the precursor to the citizens’ allowance planned by the traffic light coalition.
With the approval of the Bundestag, several tax law measures to deal with the Corona crisis can now come into force. Corona-related special benefits from employers will be tax-free up to 4500 euros in the future. The tax exemption of employer subsidies for short-time work allowance and seasonal short-time work allowance will be extended until the end of June 2022, the home office flat rate until the end of the year.
The federal government can take on 139 billion euros in new debt for the current financial year. With the approval of the federal budget by the Bundesrat, the parliamentary procedure for approving the budget totaling 496 billion euros has been completed. The federal government is once again suspending the debt brake for borrowing.
Citizens who have not previously had sufficient access to Internet or voice communication services are given an individual legal right for the first time. The Bundesrat approved an ordinance by the Federal Network Agency that sets minimum requirements for Internet access. Providers must provide bandwidths of at least 10.0 megabits per second (Mbit/s) for downloads and at least 1.7 Mbit/s for uploads.