Fired from dole for not prostituting?!

Well, I suppose the government logically could force women to choose between prostitution and the cutting off of unemployment benefits. However, what happens if the woman has no talent for the job? Would getting fired from a brothel have the kind of negative impact on your future job search that being fired from other jobs has? And could the government then refuse benefits because you hadn’t “tried hard enough”?

[quote=“iris”]For those who read German: This article seems to be the source of everything.

Iris[/quote]

Thanks Iris!! I don’t read German, but I tried to use Babel Fish. Well, the English version from the Telegraph quotes German expert, Merchthild Garweg, a lawyer from Hamburg.

I grabed a section of the Taz article and droped it in Bable Fish. Here’s the origiinal cut and the unchanged translation. Only the bolding is added.
German - Taz

[quote]Seit 2002 ist der Beruf der Prostituierten legalisiert. Die T

No worries, I didn’t want to nitpick and think we understand both what/how the other party meant (it).

Yeah, difficult to find the correct word here but ‘pressured’ comes so far closest.

Actually I have been unemployed myself before and did reject, in a friendly manner, the suggestion to take up a job that didn’t exactly match my qualification and expectations so the guy sitting in front of me got all upset and yelled at me - upon which I walked out of the door and never talked to him again.
Didn’t suffer any consequences and instead of waiting for them to send me further offers I drove back there on a weekly basis and used the computer system to find suitable job listings myself (besides checking the newspaper etc.).
The agency sent me not more than 5 or 6 offers in total within a period of 6 months though I did sent out around 70-80 applications, most of them based on information from their computer system.
Makes you wonder if or how the system actually works and what our respected civil servant does for you!?

One thing to note: you are only entitled to unemployment benefits if you have contributed to the system before, usually by means of a compulsory deduction from your salary. Beside that there are deductions for health insurance, pension and church tax (“members only”), not to mention income tax.
Someone who did not contribute to the systyem won’t get anything but could apply for social welfare benefits instead to ensure a minimum standard of living (accomodation, a bed, TV, washing machine and some cash). Personal wealth or even income of your children may reduce the social welfare benefits (down to 0 where applicable).

What a difference a missing “t” can make, eh? :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Anybody who wants a correct translation of the article, PM me.

This is interesting. How does the church tax work? Do you mean that you check a box when you fill out your tax form that says what religion you are, and then you owe a certain amount? Does every church get the same amount? “Members only” means that people who are athiest don’t have to pay? Is it purely voluntary, or can they go after you for not checking a box when in fact you regularly go to church (and they would have plenty of witnesses to prove this)?

Some answers here and here.

HTH
Iris

Some answers here and here.
[/quote]

Vielen Dank, Iris!

Thanks for that.

Not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, but anybody who wants a laugh, use Babel Fish! :smiley:

It’s not about me!
It’s not about you!
It’s not about them!
It’s all about EWE!!

OOC

If you are a member, that is registered with your church, you will be taxed. You can see your priest, fill in some forms and officially leave the church, in which case no tax applies. Atheists won’t need to pay either.
All deductions are based on a percentage (of your salary) and taken off before the money reaches your account. AFAIK different churches have different rates.

Technically purely voluntary, but most parents make their children a member. So when you grow up it’s your decision to stay or leave. I reckon most people won’t bother and stay.
Nobody will of course care or check if you attend service while not being a member, but I think you can’t get a christian burial *) if you aren’t a member.

*) Roman-catholic and protestant are the most common churches in Germany, not sure how not paying your tax affects other religions (their “procedures”), so it’s purely an example based on what I am most familiar with.

Just noticed Iris post some good links, see those for more details.

Thanks Rascal. Iris’s links were very helpful, but your answer provided some additional information that they didn’t have. A couple thoughts:

German Religious Belief
One thing I was very surpised to find (in the dw-world article) was how strong the religious feeling seems to be. I lived in Germany very briefly, and the family I was living with was quite religious, but I had always had the impression that this was the exception rather than the rule. I remember seeing polls showing about 80% of Americans identify themselves as either Catholic or Protestant. Somehow I had always assumed that Germany was would be much lower. But the dw-world article says that 64% of Germans are members of a Christian church. And this is despite having a tax system that would seem to actively discourage membership! It’s true that the article says that the number is slowly going down (which you mentioned as well), but still – 64% of people are strong enough believers that they are willing to pay taxes to a church. Definitely suprised by that.

The Role of Government
In some ways I suppose this whole area is getting a little of of the thread topic. But in some ways I think that it is very much connected. The idea of having the government involved in collecting money from people and then giving it to their churches (rather than having the people give money on their own if they chose to) strikes me as being very related to the degree to which people think that the government should control what happens in people’s lives, what happens with their money. In this sense, the idea of having a larger, more active government involvement when it comes to “participating” in which jobs people take seems easier to understand. Does that sound right to you?

May I?

As to Germans being religious, I think there is one big difference between Americans and Germans: For Germans, religion is more an every-day thing, something that is sort of there but that’s not exactly the main focus. Examples would probably be things like participation in church activities like choirs or trips, the fact that most kids still join religious education class in school which used to be compulsory until they slowly started to offer alternative philosophical/ethnical classes about fifteen years ago or the fact that until today, most children get baptized after birth and go through First Communion or protestant Confirmation. There is probably a difference between smaller towns/countryside and bigger cities in this respect. But all of these things are pretty common. This doesn’t mean that people who do this go to church all the time and have to throw the fact that they belong to a church in everybodys face. It’s more like a social thing, probably similar to the many associations where people go for sports or any other kind of social activity, everybody does it. It’s just part of every-day life. Of course, if you go to a German church on sundays, it will be pretty empty and most people will be older. And of course, if you go to a church on Easter or Christmas, churches will be packed with virtually everybody. I’m not saying that there aren’t devoted Christians in Germany. I’m just saying that for most people, even though it might not be obvious, religion is part of their life. But not in the sense that they’re trying to force that down everybody’s throat.

I’m protestant, btw.

As to government’s involvement in people’s life, maybe a few random thoughts by a German on this topic:

A) Taking church taxes from church members and giving it to the churches does make sense in a way as churches are the main supporters of many social institutions like kindergartens, welfare centers, mobile social services, homes for the elderly etc. that many non-church members also profit from. Consultation before abortion (a legal requirement for abortion in Germany) is usually organized through the churches. This doesn’t mean that they’re trying to missionarize Germany, most of these services, though set up through churches, don’t involve religion in their daily business. Losing them (a main point of discussion with rising numbers of people leaving churches and thus dwindling amounts of church tax money) would mean a big disadvantage for many Germans.

B) We used to have an American professor at my university who had been teaching in Germany for quite a while. One of his favorite stories was when he taught a university class of mixed German and American students and started a discussion on the German household registration system. The American students got really upset about having to register at their local townhall just to be registered. The Germans shoulder-shruggingly went: “Why? it only takes 5 minutes” :rainbow:

Iris

Learning a lot today. Thanks again Iris!

From the way you describe it, there seems to be a great deal of overlap in the activities of churches in Germany and those in the US. In both cases a number of very useful and important community welfare and charity work is done by churches. I guess the primary difference seems to be that in Germany the idea of the government funding the churches through direct taxation is accepted as a matter of course, whereas in the US there is huge outcries and protests from a wide range of groups at the proposal that even small amount of social welfare funding be made available to churches in addition to secular groups. I suspect that many of the people protesting the “faith based intitiatives” in the US would be very surprised to learn what I’ve learned this morning. My impression is that most of them think (as I did until recently) that Germany would be even less tolerant of this kind of church-government cooperation/alliance than we are in the US. Turns out exactly the opposite is true. Tja… the world can surpise you.

I think you are right that there is a also difference in the way at least some people view their membership in churches as well. I’m sure the US has a higher number of “evangelical” churches than Germany does, and members of such churches are probably more likely to be more vocal/passionate in communicating their beliefs. However, these churches are certainly (at least according to the numbers I’ve seen) well outnumbered by more “quiet”, “German style” churches.

I liked the anecdote about the household registration system too. What exactly is the reason that this registration is required?

I’ve got no idea. That’s just the way it is :rainbow:

I’ve just stumbled over something you might find interesting: a comparison between lots of things in the US and in Germany. Mind you, it’s a (possibly biased) personal website, nothing factual.

from that website:

[quote]Germans donate much more money to charitable causes than Americans…
I see two reasons for these different approaches to charity: first, Americans distrust big organizations and third world governments; they fear that money they donate for global causes will trickle away in bureaucracies somewhere. Second, Germans intuitively don’t feel a need to help local organizations or schools: “that’s the government’s job, that’s what I pay taxes for.” [/quote]
:rainbow:

Iris

Registering your place of residence for taxation purposes, that is you receive your salary declaration form from the city council where you are registered and for purposes of local taxes (rubbish collection for example). You can have more than one place of residence but only one main one which then is also your offical address, that is issues related e.g. to tax are dealt with the taxation office of the district where this address falls under.

As well you need to be registered to obtain an IC (identity card), passport or your driver’s license for example.
Some people might object having to obtain an IC but again this is for most Germans more of a formality than an issue about privacy. Has been always like that and people are just used to it - and for certain formalities you just have to have an IC.

Regarding your earlier questions:
As iris pointed already out people paying church taxes aren’t necessarily big believers. While I was raised as roman-catholic I never considered myself a believer and started to stay away from service when I was in my mid teens (though I was still involved in some church-associated youth group activities, “ironically” of the opposing faith).
When I started earning income in Germany I did not quit the church and payed the tax. As iris pointed out this supports church and non-church organisations, so perhaps that is something that people may consider as doing good.

Not sure about the role of the government, i.e. if people think the government should control what happens in peoples life to such an extend. Would need to dig a bit deeper into the history of why it has been established that way.
For the time being I assume that people can’t be bothered and take it as a necessary (but not necessarily bad) thing and/or have just gotten used to it.

[quote=“Rascal”]Registering your place of residence for taxation purposes, that is you receive your salary declaration form from the city council where you are registered and for purposes of local taxes (rubbish collection for example). You can have more than one place of residence but only one main one which then is also your offical address, that is issues related e.g. to tax are dealt with the taxation office of the district where this address falls under. As well you need to be registered to obtain an IC (identity card), passport or your driver’s license for example.
Some people might object having to obtain an IC but again this is for most Germans more of a formality than an issue about privacy. Has been always like that and people are just used to it - and for certain formalities you just have to have an IC.[/quote]

Gotcha. Can’t say I see anything wrong with letting the government know where you live for tax reasons. Makes sense to me. I don’t have a problem with a national ID card either. I remember it was an issue that was discussed on the IP board a bit, but I was never able to summon up very strong feelings one way or the other. You don’t have to get a new passport, drivers license etc. every time you change address do you?

[quote=“Rascal”]Regarding your earlier questions:
As iris pointed already out people paying church taxes aren’t necessarily big believers. While I was raised as roman-catholic I never considered myself a believer and started to stay away from service when I was in my mid teens (though I was still involved in some church-associated youth group activities, “ironically” of the opposing faith).
When I started earning income in Germany I did not quit the church and payed the tax. As iris pointed out this supports church and non-church organisations, so perhaps that is something that people may consider as doing good.[/quote]

Hmm… Yeah I can see how that might be a convenient option. A person could feel like they were contibuting something to charity voluntarily without needing to investigate each new organization to make sure it was legitimate etc. Does the fact that the money comes from the government carry any strings? I mean, are churches required to show their books to government auditors, or are they required to do certain things with the money? E.g. What if a church decided that it was the government’s job to take care of the poor, and that what the church really needed was a fancy new 500m Euro cathedral the size of a football stadium to praise heaven?

Good point. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is as interested as I am in sitting around thinking about the political-philosophy underpinning the way their government works. I hear some people have “lives”. :blush:

Anyway – thanks for the info! :laughing:

Sorry for going back to the original topic, but are the “be a prostitute or we will cut your benefit” policies applicable to male prostitutes?

If not, surely the government is opening up a huge can of worms in regards to equal rights.
as prostitution is perceived as a mainly female profession, surely it can be regarded as a sexist move?

Where possible it will be amended. A passport for example has 3 rows for this purpose and must be replaced if you change your address for the fourth time.
I recall they used to put a sticker on the IC (covers up the old address) but not sure if this is still done and I guess there is a limit as to how many stickers they will put on it. The IC expires at some time though (5 years?).
I still carry the older driving license but don’t know if you need to change it (it does have an empty page for official entries, maybe it’s used for that). No clue whatsover about the new credit-card sized version.

I have to admit I have actually no idea what they do with the money or how/if they are held accountable.

I don’t know, but some states of the US, as of the mid-90s, have implemented systems in which some unemployed persons may be required to look for a job:

[quote]Change in State unemployment insurance legislation in 1995

Diana Runner

Nineteen States amended their unemployment insurance laws to require that, as a condition of eligibility for benefits, an individual must participate in reemployment services, such as job search assistance, if he or she is determined through a profiling system to be likely to exhaust regular benefits. The profiling system is designed to assist individuals in making a successful transition to new employment.

Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.[/quote]
bls.gov/opub/mlr/1996/01/art6exc.htm

I don’t know whether there were other states with such a system before this article, and I don’t know if anyone else has adopted it since then. I also don’t know whether any states have adopted a more rigorous regime than the one described in the article excerpt above.

Yes. When I was unemployed for a few months back in the late '90s, the rules were that I had to apply to at least three places every week (as far as I recall; it might have been every two weeks/per paycheck from the state) or not get any benefits. If offered a job, you had to accept it. However, this differs from the German system in that it was up to your discretion which jobs you chose to apply for. If, theoretically speaking, prostitution were legal in the U.S. (outside of Nevada), a woman would simply just not apply to any sex industry jobs in order to avoid being offered one. There are thousands of other jobs to apply for. In fact, if you enjoy leeching off the state, the easy way to stay unemployed would be to only apply for jobs where you know there’s no chance of getting hired. However, unemployment benefits are time limited in the U.S.; exactly how many months varies from state to state. I think in my state it was between six to nine months before all benefits stopped. Time limits are fair, I think - the government doesn’t need to encourage the creation of an underclass permanently on the dole. I’ve met at least one German, online, who is in his 40s and has never worked a day at a job in his life - he was always either a student or living off the state’s generous welfare state system. That kind of thing tends to seriously piss off people who have to work for a living, especially working class people like where I come from who sweat every day in honest toil only to see their taxes thrown away to support social leeches. :fume:

Well said Rubicon.

I suppose most of the serious debate about cutting off unemployment benefits has to do with designing a system that cuts off the leeches and gives people an incentive to find a job without losing sight of the fact that there are people out there who just fall on tough times through no fault of their own.

Interesting to read that you were required to accept an offer if you got one though. I never knew that before.