The recent reform of “midday jobs” by Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has led to a rapid increase in this form of employment. This emerges from the government’s response to a short question from the left in the Bundestag, which is available to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Thus, the number of midi jobbers more than doubled after the law changes in mid-2019.
Midday jobs have existed since 2003, they are situated between mini-jobs and regular work subject to social contributions. For a long time, it was true that anyone who earned more than 450 but less than 850 euros per month could do so as a midi jobber and thus save on social contributions. The catch is that this has resulted in a corresponding drop in pension rights. But then, on July 1, 2019, Heil not only raised the earnings limit to 1,300 euros, but also made sure that the reduced pension contributions of midi jobbers no longer had a negative effect on their later retirement.
According to the Labor Ministry’s response to the left-wing survey, in December of last year there were 2.98 million midday jobbers in Germany. Data from the Federal Employment Agency shows that in December 2018, six months before the new rules came into force, it was only 1.22 million, significantly less than half. Most worked in commerce, health care, service occupations such as the security and catering industry. “It is clear and harmless that there will be more than noon jobbers when the earnings limit goes from 850 to 1300 euros,” said Enzo Weber, an economist at the Institute for Research on Employment (IAB). The reform would also have changed the incentives: “There are better incentives to increase working hours from mini-jobs because pension rights in midday jobs are now subsidized. actually working more may prefer to stay in the extended midday employment zone because they receive their pension rights free of charge. “
Lunchtime trades are mostly women’s trades
“The central question is where do the new midi jobbers come from,” explains Markus Grabka, who studies, among other things, the distribution of income and wealth at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). If most were former mini-jobbers, this development would be encouraging. In addition to compulsory social security, midi jobs also have the advantage over mini jobs that there is a right to partial unemployment benefit for example. However, if the new midi jobbers were to fall mainly from regular employment to the enlarged “transition zone” because it is now more attractive for employers to create a midi job instead of a regular job, this would be less encouraging. from Grabka’s point of view. To find out, it would take an analysis of a process which, to his knowledge, does not yet exist. The number of mini-jobbers fell by half a million between the end of 2018 and the end of 2020, but that was also due to the increase in the minimum wage and the corona pandemic.
Weber of the IAB believes that it is unlikely that many mini-jobbers who previously earned 450 euros will now switch to a midday job because they can now do so beyond 850 euros. Plus, the bogus incentive that beyond the fiscal responsibility of mini-jobs begins immediately, yes, does exist. “But something can happen within the midday employment zone that, for example, those who earned 800 euros now go to 1000 euros – but also someone goes from 1300 euros to 1100 in order to save money on social contributions.”
14.2% of women in a job subject to social security contributions only have a midday job, compared with only 4.3% of men. Compared to all the midday jobbers, three quarters are women. Member of the left-wing parliamentary group Susanne Ferschl, who made the request to the Heils department, considers this construction to be critical. “The SPD has forcefully announced that it wants to get women out of the part-time trap,” she told SZ. The consequence of Heil’s midday employment reform, however, is “that underpaid part-time work is solidified, especially among women.” The current regulation is “a subsidy of poorly paid work”.
In fact, according to BA statistics, almost 90% of midi jobbers work part time. However, part-time work is considered a risk of poverty in old age for women. In addition: According to the ministry’s response, a good fifth midday jobber works below his level of qualification and 68% at a low salary, but this number dates from 2018, there is no more recent after the reform . With a midday job at 875 euros per month, social security lacks 22.56 euros in contributions compared to a regular position. The shortfall due to the last reform amounts to nearly 500 million euros per year.
IAB economist Weber thinks little about encouraging small, long-term jobs. On the whole, he does not find the promotion of midday jobs very targeted. “Jobs are heavily subsidized, whether the midi jobber is a poor eater or lives with a well-paid partner.”