Hartz IV recipients who do not meet their obligations face significantly fewer cuts in their salaries than before. On Thursday, with the votes of the traffic light coalition, the Bundestag passed an amendment to the Social Security Code, which largely eliminates the previous sanctions.

With the new law, there are sanctions for Hartz IV recipients only in the event of extraordinary failure to report – and then only at a level of ten percent instead of up to 30 percent of the salary. This means that anyone who misses an appointment at the job center must expect a corresponding deduction. The refusal to accept a job, on the other hand, should no longer lead to a sanction.

The suspension of the Hartz IV sanctions, which should apply for one year, is the precursor to the citizens’ allowance planned by the traffic light coalition, which is to replace the previous Hartz IV system in the coming year. In the course of the citizens’ allowance, which the SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed in their coalition agreement, the obligations of the beneficiaries to cooperate and any future sanctions are then to be newly regulated.

The Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband criticized the reform as “half-hearted and inconsistent”. Social law is not criminal law, the association explained. The sanctions in the basic security would have to be completely abolished. The general manager of the Paritätischer Gesamtverband, Ulrich Schneider, said of the ongoing sanctions: “This type of cane pedagogy is inhumane and neither up-to-date nor effective.”