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21 January 2010
The government has officially responded to a query by the Green Party about how much money from public funds is spent on subsidies for temporary employees in the country each year, Financial Times Deutschland reports.
The government has responded by saying "in order to increase the income of temporary employees the government has spent 531 million Euro between May 2008 and May 2009." One in ten temporary employees relies on government benefits in order to get by.
The Green Member of Parliament in charge of employee rights, Beate Mueller-Gemmeke, responded by saying "this means that the government subsidises temporary employment to a remarkable degree. Faced with cases of abuse such as Schlecker the government cannot stick its head in the sand. It must act."
People who receive government benefits on top of their income are, however, not necessarily underpaid because subsidies like child benefit depend on the size of the family and would be paid to any employee in Germany.
However, the temporary employment industry is currently under immense pressure from all sides due to the recent scandal regarding drugstore chain Schlecker, which had made large numbers of staff redundant in order to re-hire them via an artificial staffing agency at a fraction of previous pay.
The Federal Minister for Labour, Ursula von der Leyen has ordered an investigation into abuse within the temporary employment sector. Unions claim that Schlecker is not the only company in Germany which avoids minimum pay by hiring staff via in-house employment agencies.