Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 31/10/2018

Peer Review on “Minimum Income Benefits – securing a life in dignity, enabling access to services and integration into the labour market”, Berlin (Germany), 15-16 November 2018

In Germany, minimum income benefits constitute the main instrument for preventing income poverty as the last safety net.

They play a major role in the Social Protection System by providing means-tested financial support for those whose basic needs are not covered by other resources.

The level of benefits of the monetary minimum income benefit schemes implemented in Germany are set to guarantee a socio-economic subsistence level which enables recipients to participate in social life. The aim is to enable beneficiaries to live a life in dignity and also to help them to help themselves to overcome their situation of need and reliance on financial aid.

As a result, the purpose of this Peer Review was to discuss challenges related to developing minimum income systems, including determining the subsistence level. A main thematic focus was the basic income support system for jobseekers and more specifically the reforms (Hartz) undertaken in this field between 2002 and 2005 in Germany. The Peer Review looked at how the passive and active benefit system and the organisation and governance of minimum income benefits have been adjusted since then. It has allowed to share experiences between Member States which may face similar challenges, in particular in relation to questions pertaining to the implementation of needs based justice; the effects of the activation approach; the empirical calculation of the sociocultural subsistence level; and the governance of the minimum income systems. 

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs hosted the event, participants from Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovenia exchanged lessons learned, good and innovative practices.

All documents related to this Peer Review, including the host country discussion paper, peer country commenting papers from Bulgaria, Croatia and Estonia, a thematic discussion paper and presentations as well as the short and synthesis report are available on this website after the event.

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