Nurses should get more money

Nurses should get more money

Employees in nursing care for the elderly and the sick are to be paid better in the future. Today, the federal cabinet plans to introduce a corresponding law by labor and social affairs minister hubertus heil (SPD).

The draft, which is available to the deutsche presse-agentur, is specifically about a change in the "arbeitnehmer-entsendegesetz" (law on the posting of employees). This law regulates minimum working conditions for employees. It also allows the government, under certain circumstances, to extend a collective agreement negotiated between two bargaining parties to the entire sector by decree. Labor minister heil now plans to do the same in the area of nursing care.

In addition, a permanent commission is to be set up to determine working conditions and minimum wages in the care sector in the future. Employers and employee representatives have already formed so-called care commissions to determine minimum wages. However, after agreement had been reached, these were always cancelled again.

A minimum wage of 11.05 euros per hour currently applies in the west and berlin, and 10.55 euros in the east. The current agreements on the minimum nursing wage expire next year, at which time the new permanent commission is to take care of the issue on a permanent basis. The plan is to set minimum wages in nursing not only for assistants, as in the past, but also for skilled nurses, and to do so at the same level in the east and west.

"In order to ensure humane care for all those in need of care, more people must be attracted to the nursing profession, in particular through a noticeable improvement in the working conditions of nurses," it says in the explanatory memorandum to the draft law. Since around 82 percent of nurses are women, improved pay is also an important equality policy issue.

According to the government, around 3.5 million people in germany are dependent on nursing care. The number was allowed to rise further due to the aging society. Around 1.6 million people work in the field of care for the elderly and the sick. However, almost 40,000 positions are unfilled. The central point is therefore to make the profession more attractive, among other things through better pay.

Federal health minister jens spahn (CDU), who is working together with labor minister heil and family minister franziska giffey (SPD) on the topic of improvements in nursing, told the editorial network germany (RND): "the sometimes low wages do not fit at all with a profession for which we need so many more new recruits.". Nursing staff in germany had to earn at least 2500 euros a month. The law lays the foundation for this.

Rough approval comes from the unions. The federal government has recognized that the socially relevant care of the elderly should not be left to the market, said sylvia buhler, a member of the verdi federal executive committee, according to a press release. Care workers must not be unscrupulously exploited. Annelie buntenbach, a member of the executive board of the german federation of trade unions (dgb), made a similar statement: "it is high time, because many caregivers are so stretched to the limit that they are fleeing their jobs and the staff shortage in the care sector is getting worse and worse," she told dpa.

Criticism, on the other hand, comes from private nursing home operators. They are resisting "state-standardized wages from flensburg to passau," as rainer bruderle of the employers’ association bpa recently put it. The german foundation for patient protection also has concerns. "There is no doubt that there is a need for higher wages in nursing care for the elderly," board member eugen brysch told dpa. But the bill leaves open who is to pay for it all.

Brysch fears that nursing home residents will end up having to bear the additional costs of up to five billion euros by paying a higher share of the costs for their place in the home. The government also does not rule out the possibility that contributions to long-term care insurance could rise to pay for this. The law is to come into force at the end of the year.