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Germany – State pays millions to fund agency workers

27 February 2013

Agency workers in Germany struggle to make ends meet and have to rely on welfare and unemployment benefits despite often having full-time jobs, according to new data. The German state paid millions to fund agency workers in low-paid jobs last year.

The government said that it paid unemployment benefits amounting to around €347 million to agency workers in 2011. Unions, which end to have a hostile stance towards temporary employment in Germany, have criticised this development.

Wilhelm Adamy from the German Confederation of Trade Unions said: “In no other industry was the expenditure of unemployment benefits for full-time employees as high as in the staffing industry. Wages which don’t provide enough to make a living are still massively subsidised by the state via unemployment benefits.”

The figures show that around 16% of those having received unemployment benefits in 2011 were agency workers who represent around 3% of the total workforce in the country.  Unions warned that agency workers are at higher risk of poverty than other employees.  

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