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Grand Coalition: The sticking points between the Union and the SPD – Politics

Monday, February 5th, 2018 | bitcoin updates


The CDU, CSU and SPD negotiators met in Berlin to continue their discussions on a renewed grand coalition. The parties had originally intended to conclude their negotiations on Sunday, but Monday and Tuesday from the beginning as a reserve floor open. ZuZer unresolved sticking points include the non-fixed term contracts and the unequal treatment of cash and Privatpatienten.co in the final phase include two Issues that are particularly close to the heart of the Social Democrats: temporary employment contracts without any reason and the unequal treatment of health insurance and private patients. The SPD calls for an approximation of medical fees for private and public health patients, which the Union rejects so far. The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet warns of possible cost increases by the demanded by the SPD harmonization of medical fees. "There are many who say that will be extremely expensive, if suddenly the fees of the legally insured to those of the privately insured be aligned," said the CDU politician on Monday in the ARD "morning magazine". Financing of health insurance Both sides have already decided that the contributions to the statutory health insurance from January 1, 2019 will have to be paid by employers and employees in the same amount again. Already during their soundings Union and SPD had agreed on a restoration of so-called parity. However, it is still a matter of dispute whether the previous additional contribution to the health insurances, which the employees previously have to raise alone, is completely eliminated or will in future also be financed on an equal basis. The Union is for the latter, the SPD would like to say goodbye to the individual cash contributions. For the self-employed, the minimum contributions to the statutory health insurance should decrease. It is unclear just how high. The Union wants to base its assessment on the scheme for start-ups, which is currently based on a monthly income of € 1490. The SPD would have preferred for the minimum contributions of self-employed only the upper limit for midi jobs, it is currently at 850 €.

The core issues of a cautious entry into civil security – by harmonizing physician fees or by opening up the statutory health insurance funds for civil servants – are the Union and SPD struggle to the last in the coalition negotiations. CDU vice-chairman Laschet expressed his confidence that the topic would achieve a "good result" in order to "improve the health system for those insured under the law". Non-material limitation In addition to the "two-tier medicine", the negotiations are also about achieving something in the case of a non-material limitation of employment contracts. Here, the discussions were the most difficult. The Union, supported by the employers' organizations, wants only little change in the status quo. For the non-essential time limit applies in the entrepreneur's warehouse as a convenient form of flexible contract design. Younger employees are usually affected: the first career entry into employment is often limited in time to allow staff to try out risk-free situations. Employees often have to postpone their life and family planning. This not only applies to employees in the private sector, but also in the civil service. There is even more often a temporary limit than in the private sector. According to a report by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), which is part of the Federal Employment Agency, non-referenced time limits, especially in the public sector, have increased sharply, doubling in this sector between 2004 and 2013 to one third of all fixed-term contracts.

This has several reasons. For example, government jobs were often financed on a temporary basis, which probably also had to do with the need to consolidate budgets following the financial crisis. Or the instrument was used to make workers – such as substitute teachers – more flexible as needed. One important reason: according to the IAB, public-sector employers estimate legal certainty to be higher for non-essential time-limits, so there are fewer complaints. This is confirmed in the Federal Government. About two-thirds of these non-essential time limits end with extension or even firm takeover. Of course, the public service could also change its limitation practice without changing the law. As it is said, it would be quite possible to limit many of the previously non-binding contracts also with the facts mentioned in the law. "Once the public service should be a role model before he demands that of others," said the CDU vice-chairman. In addition, it is talked about "what can be corrected at what point." The pressure on the SPD is great. The unions have been mobilizing for a long time against this practice of job deadlines, which does not have to be based on the prescribed catalog of time limits for the part-time and fixed-term contracts. The only condition: Unfounded fixed-term contracts may not run for more than two years. Regarding the prospects for an agreement, Laschet said: "I am confident, but I have often been confident and then it was different." But the climate of negotiations is so, that an agreement is possible – "if everyone wants to". (TSP / dpa)

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