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Tackling 'mini-jobs'20th of September 2012
Thomas Schulte-Marxloh addresses the topic of 'mini-jobs' in the German cleaning sector.
For many years the contract cleaning industry had to fight a bad image and reputation in terms of wages and social insurance. ‘Mini-job’ is one of the buzzwords in this debate which is often related to the contract cleaning industry, though mini-jobs are much more important in other industries.
This kind of employment allows the employee to keep all his wages up to a limit of 450 euros (formerly 400 euro); the employee neither has to contribute to social insurance nor has to pay taxes on this income. That is why mini-jobs became so attractive to so many people. And the ‘mini-jobbers’ must not be considered as second class workers, the Federal Trade Guild Association (BIV) recently pointed out.
A mini-jobber can claim standard wages (which means minimum wages) and holidays, and can enjoy the same negotiated regulations as the full-time employees in the contract cleaning industry. Although the workers do not have to con-tribute to the social insurance, the employer, however, has to pay the highest respective fees.
For many years the trades unions and some politicians argued that it was the contract cleaning industry's intention to extend the number of mini-jobs, harming their employees. There is no evidence for that at all, believes the BIV, referring to figures of the Federal Statistical Office, which show that the share of mini-jobs in the contract cleaning industry has been decreasing constantly for years.
Also, the BIV explains, for employers this kind of employment is the most expensive; therefore it does not make sense for employers but for employees who receive their wages without deduction. Apart from that the requirements of customers frequently demand the employment of smaller groups of workers for limited periods of time.
The BIV also addresses the prejudice that the mini-job workers were not protected by any insurance - in terms of insurance most of them were covered by an existing family insurance, their regular occupation or in other ways. Actually this form of employment rather means some extra money.
Mini-jobbers could contribute 4. 6 per cent of their wages in exchange for a pension entitlement, however, it is striking how few have chosen this option, although employers already carry three-quarters of the pension scheme which is included in the lump sum they have to pay.
Amazingly less than five per cent of the mini-jobbers take advantage of the pension scheme. “We would really appreciate it if significantly more mini jobbers would contribute to their own pension scheme and pay at least the reduced amount of 4.6 per cent”, says Dieter Kuhnert, representing the BIV view.
For many years the BIV has demanded the abolition of mini-jobs – also that justice is served in terms of contributions. As presently respective political changes cannot be expected, the BIV argues that it makes sense to raise the limit from 400 to 450 euros. Particularly because next year the minimum wage in the pay scale area ‘west’ will rise to nine euros per hour – consequently a weekly work time of 10 hours will hardly be possible within a mini-job, the BIV explains. But a daily work time of two hours is demanded by employees and customers alike.