Why do employees clap
After clapping : Do bonus payments also come in the care of the elderly?
Friendly words at the counter, applause from the balcony for the medical staff - all a “nice expression of our solidarity in this difficult time”, as Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the beginning of the weekend. But he does not consider the nicely intended gestures to be sufficient. "We want to do more to properly appreciate the helpers," added the SPD politician.
The Ministry of Finance has therefore issued the instruction that bonus payments to employees up to a sum of EUR 1500 remain tax and social security free in the Corona crisis. The prerequisite is that the bonuses are paid between March 1 and December 31, 2020 in addition to normal wages.
Many of the jobs in demand during the Corona crisis are poorly paid
This is based not least on the knowledge that many professions that are now particularly in demand during the crisis and are considered "systemically relevant" have so far been paid poorly: be it the cashier in the supermarket, the shelf clearer, the geriatric nurse or the nurse. Because of the additional burden caused by the Corona crisis, a number of retailers had already announced bonuses for their employees. Now, special payments for employees in the care of the elderly are apparently being discussed.
Tax-free recognition bonus would be "the right signal"
In the corona pandemic, outpatient care and nursing homes are doing outstanding things, said Florian Lanz, spokesman for the umbrella association of statutory health insurance, which also represents the care insurance funds, the Tagesspiegel. Dealing with people in need of care requires a high level of professionalism and human warmth: "A tax-free recognition bonus would be the right signal," says Lanz.
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When determining the amount of a possible recognition bonus, a sense of proportion is required, because after all it is financed from contribution funds. "Nor should a distinction be made between east or west, north or south, because nowhere can care be provided remotely or even from the home office," says the association spokesman. Therefore, care employers should agree with politicians on a nationwide uniform value for this premium.
Special payments in care and retail because of the Corona crisis
The Vice President of the Care Employers' Association, Friedhelm Fiedler, also considers special payments to be feasible. "We are open to a one-time bonus of up to 1500 euros," he told the "Bild" newspaper. According to the Federal Statistical Office, more than a million people work in inpatient care facilities and outpatient care services, and more than 85 percent of the employees are women. Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) had also promoted extra remuneration for nurses in the clinics or medical practices.
In the food retail sector, several chains had announced special payments: Lidl, Kaufland and Aldi pay their employees in the branches and in logistics a bonus in the form of a voucher of up to 250 euros. Real employees also receive vouchers for goods in the week before Easter - worth 100 euros. The Rewe group, to which Rewe and Penny belong, also announced special payments.
Greens and leftists are generally demanding better pay
Green parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt welcomed that Finance Minister Scholz had finally moved and bonus payments would be tax-free in Corona times. "It is not only important to be exempt from tax, but also to pay," she told Tagesspiegel.
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"The many people in care, in hospitals or in the supermarkets, who do a lot for all of us every day despite the risk of infection, should get such bonus payments really quickly," she appealed to employers. Bonus payments also do not replace wage increases and no collective bargaining, said the Green politician. "We have to remember that the people who do such important work now will continue to be paid better in the future."
The chairman of the Left Party, Bernd Riexinger, also welcomed the fact that there should be bonus payments for the burden on employees in the Corona crisis. But at the same time he warned that the necessary betterment of nursing staff could not be done with a one-off payment. “Funds and employers should not believe that this will get the subject off the table,” he said. Even before the Corona crisis, hospital wards were often understaffed, and a large part of the nursing staff gave up their job prematurely due to excessive workload and poor pay. "We will only get the nursing emergency under control with a general upgrading of nursing work," said Riexinger.
Riexinger: suspensions of collective bargaining are "wrong signal"
For the left-wing party leader it is therefore also the "completely wrong signal" that the service union Verdi and the federal association of employers in the care sector are suspending their negotiations on a collective agreement in care for the elderly as a result of the Corona crisis, as it became known on Saturday.
The managing director of the employers' association, Gero Kettler, said that although the nursing staff would need higher wages in the long term, immediate measures such as collectively agreed bonus payments would now have priority. "Hopefully it won't stop with clapping," he says.
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