Germany Ups Minimum Wage & Maternity Leave, Chinese Reactions

Germans advocatingfor an 8.50 EUR minimum wage.

Germans advocatingfor an 8.50 EUR minimum wage.

From NetEase:

Germany Limits Minimum Wage to 11,000 RMB, Two Years for Maternity Leave

According to a report by Voice of China’s Global Chinese Broadcasting Network, at the start of the new year, multiple new regulations went into effect in Germany. They involved aspects such as residents’ incomes, medical care, and child-rearing. For example: The monthly minimum wage is now 11,000 RMB, and maternity leave has increased from one year to two years. These new regulations look very nice, but will they really make life better?

First, the long-discussed minimum wage was formally implemented from January 1st of this year, with the minimum hourly wage not to be lower than 8.5 EUR, and if it is a 40 hour work week, the minimum monthly pre-tax salary must be 1473 EUR, approximately 11,000 yuan RMB. Employees from henceforth can enjoy this, but experts worry this will increase the burden on companies and lower the international competitiveness of Germany products.

The second change is lowering the pension rate 0.2 percentage points, from 18.9% down to 18.7%, which will remain unchanged until 2018. This on a certain level reduces the economic burden on individuals, but is more or a token/symbolic change than a real change.

The third change is that the fee for the law-enforced medical insurance has also been lowered 0.9 percentage points, from the original 15.5% down to the current 14.6%, but the insurance agency can now decide the amount of additional charges, and thus in the long-run signifying an increase in insurance fees so it is a hidden increase.

The fourth change is that the state has increased its crackdown on tax evasion, with the fine for tax evasion in the amounts of 25,000 EUR, 100,000 EUR, and 1,000,000 EUR and up now being 10%, 15%, and 20% respectively.

On the health care front, the electronic medical cards that store individual’s health information will be completely replaced with old-fashioned magnetic cards. This will not only guard against them being misappropriated by others through impersonation, it will also make it easier for doctors and hospitals to exchange and access a patient’s health status. However, this is also a controversial point, with critics worrying that about the problem of data safety, that it may easily lead to individual health information being leaked or stolen.

Health insurance fee rates have been adjusted upward 4 percentage points, and there are different levels of monetary increases based on varying circumstances between the person insured. The aging of German society is severe, and pension expenses have already become a serious social burden, with increasing insurance premiums being “a cup of water on a burning wagon” [an insufficient measure] unable to solve the root of the problem.

Measures benefiting households were officially implemented, such as family members being able to take two years off to provide nursing care. If a family has a person with a serious illness, an applicant can within 10 days enjoy their full salary and for two years only work 15 hours each week. The applicant can also obtain interest-free loans from the government to supplement their income. Also going into effect is an improvement to paternity/maternity leave and child-rearing funds, with the original one year expanded to two years but no change for the total sum of funds, which is approximately 67% of the parents’ pure income, not to exceed 1800 EUR each month. In other words, taking one cup of water and splitting it into two cups. Although the amount of time was expanded, the household’s economic burden undoubtedly has increased. For some low-income households, it is difficult for them to see their benefit in this.

Some other changes that went into effect on 2015 January 1 were new standards for wood-burning fireplaces. All old-fashioned wood-burning heating equipment must be retrofitted with filtering equipment, or replaced with new equipment meeting emissions standards, so if you want to be romantic, you also have to be environmentally friendly. One change worth driving around celebrating is that automobile license plates are no longer restricted by region, so if you move from one city to another city, there are no longer any changes required for your license plates and you can continue using them. With regards to the strict environmental garbage sorting implemented nationwide, 340 of Germany’s 400 cities and regions have already implemented individual environmental garbage sorting as of 2014. Now the remaining 60 areas must establish special-purpose environmental garbage bins, with all organic refuse collected primarily used to produced methane gas, fertilizer, and such.

Comments from NetEase:

自费美分 [网易四川省成都市手机网友]:

Evil capitalism!!

[Note: This is a sarcastic comment referring to old Communist propaganda.]

网易北京市手机网友 ip:114.250.*.*

Do good in this life, so you can be reincarnated in Germany.

表侄女怀孕没 [网易江西省九江市手机网友]:

Resolutely resist capitalism, and walk the path of socialism with [Chinese] characteristics!
If I may ask my fellow NetEase users, what does it take to immigrate to Germany?

天下任我行jrt7 [网易江苏省淮安市手机网友]:

Instead of taking the big road, they insist on feeling their way across the river!

十八很多年了 [网易浙江省温州市手机网友]:

The people under evil capitalism live in an abyss of suffering!

网易湖南省衡阳市手机网友 [中国纺织大学]:

This minimum wage can easily dispatch 95% of the wages in China.

陈则明 [网易上海市杨浦区手机网友]: (responding to above)


zhongcheng600 [网易四川省雅安市手机网友]:

Walking the wrong path [of capitalism].

网易加拿大网友 [吹牛的鸡国]:

That’s not high at all! The average salary in Germany according to the German government is 3500 EUR pre-tax! Don’t get too excited all of you! That’s just normal wages! A half kilogram of beef in Germany costs 3-4 EUR!

130068089 [网易新疆乌鲁木齐市手机网友]: (responding to above)

Are you comparing prices with Canada? Over here, a half kilogram of beef is also over 30 [RMB], but what are our incomes? Our subsistence welfare is just 200 yuan. How many half kilograms of meat can that buy?!

网易福建省福州市手机网友 ip:183.250.*.*

[They] exported the ideology [of communism] to us, yet they themselves took the wrong path [of capitalism].

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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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