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Germany – Teachers on fixed-term contracts to apply for unemployment benefits during school breaks

14 May 2013

Thousands of German teachers are forced to apply for unemployment benefits in July and August, because they are on contracts which exclude the months of holiday, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported this week.

In what teachers' associations are describing as a “scandal”, regional authorities regularly issue contracts to teachers which only last the length of the school year, relying on state benefits to make up the shortfall.

Of 200,000 teachers currently working in Germany, tens of thousands of them are on such short-term contracts and must register as unemployed when the summer term ends, then fight again to receive their next employment contract in September.

According to the Federal Employment Agency (BA), 5,400 teachers registered as unemployed during the summer holidays in 2012. In the southern state of Baden-Württemberg, where this practice was most widespread, numbers of unemployed teachers rocketed 1,400% in August, it said. The report said this annual “jump in unemployment” always fell again after the end of the holidays.

Teachers associations are now demanding an end to short-term contracts, which allow regional authorities to save money at the cost of the state.

“It's a scandal,” said Ilse Schaad, board member in the teachers' Education and Science Union. “Unemployment benefits are not there for paying teachers in July and August,” she added.


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