Sanctions remain on a low level in 2021

  • Number of sanctions on a low level increased slightly in the past year
  • About 97 percent of beneficiaries remain unaffected by sanctions
  • Scheele: Reforms welcomed but solutions for very small minority needed

11 Apr 2022 | Press Release No. 17

Most common cause: Failures to report

In the past year, the job centres had to impose 193,729 sanctions against employable beneficiaries - 22,618 more than in 2020. The number of benefit reductions is still significantly lower than before the pandemic. In 2019, 806,811 sanctions were imposed.

Compared to 2019, the decrease particularly results from the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court made in 2019 and the consequences of the pandemic. On the one side, the labour market was very affected temporarily and the number of placement proposals and qualifications decreased. On the other hand, the number of telephone consultation increased due to safety regulations. Consultation appointments by telephone are sent without any legal consequences and a possible absence is therefore inconsequential. Therefore, the share of sanctions for a missed appointment decreased to about 52 percent - it is usually at 75 percent.

In the past year, 3.1 percent of beneficiaries were imposed with at least one sanction. Conversely, this means that 97 of 100 persons were not affected by sanctions.

Government plans sanction moratorium

The temporary exemptions planned by the Federal Government shall enter into force in summer 2022 and shall apply until the end of the year. It is currently planned that no sanctions are imposed if a job opportunity or measures are refused. Sanctions shall still be imposed for appointments missed without good cause.

Detlef Scheele, chairman of the Federal Employment Agency, welcomes the reform proposals on the citizen's income and the planned changes of the sanction rules: "We welcome the sanction reforms but we need a solution for the small group that would otherwise elude. The large majority of people who are supported in the job search by the job centres is not affected by sanctions. For our work, it is counterproductive to cut rent or to treat young people differently from adults. It is also important to take particular hardships into account and to end sanctions prematurely. However, we still need a solution for a very small minority - for example, when the persons concerned miss a consultation without good cause. Otherwise, we will lose contact and cannot help them anymore".

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