Wednesday November 24th 2021
Present and short-time work resolution
As a farewell, there is something green for Merkel
The presumably last meeting of the black-red federal government is over. As a farewell, the outgoing Chancellor Merkel receives flowers and a tree. Work is also going on: Companies and employees are given the green light for extended short-time work.
The Executive Chancellor Angela Merkel received a sapling “Cornus controversa ‘Carpe Diem'” (Seize the day) as a farewell present from her cabinet at the presumably last meeting of the black-red federal government. Agriculture minister Julia Klöckner tweeted photos of the crop, which she and the executive minister of the environment, Svenja Schulze, are showing.
On a photo of the trailer of the gift for Merkel, also tweeted by Klöckner, there is talk of a “premium class garden wood”. It is described as a “bonsai-like, very noble dwarf wood for vessels”. It carries “abundant, white pearl blossoms”, has a “deep red autumn color with blue berries” and is “robust, long-lived and free-flowering”. Klöckner wrote: “An interesting tree – colleague @ SvenjaSchulze68 and I think – with a bit of humor – whether we should both have planted a forest from it.”
Merkel already enjoyed relaxing with gardening during her 16 years as head of government. In her garden she found distraction from world politics, she told the magazine “Bunte” in 2013. Merkel therefore likes to grow easy-care tubers such as potatoes. “It’s not that difficult to put the little seed potatoes in the ground,” she said at the time. “And pile up earth once, I can do that too.” Merkel received a colorful bouquet of flowers from her likely successor, the previous Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Short-time work and bridging assistance
In addition to the good wishes, the Federal Cabinet decided at its meeting that companies and employees should have easier access to short-time working due to the ongoing Corona crisis. With an ordinance by the acting Federal Minister of Labor, Hubertus Heil, the maximum benefit period of 24 months is extended for a further three months until March 31, 2022.
The regulation also extends the easing of access to short-time work allowance introduced during the crisis. The previous full reimbursement of social security contributions for employers will be reduced by half. The aim is to stabilize employment relationships in the first quarter of 2022 and avoid unemployment and bankruptcies.
“For many companies it is not foreseeable when they will be able to reach the pre-crisis level again,” said the SPD politician. It cannot be ruled out that “further tightened measures” will have to be taken in many federal states. Heil said it could have “significant effects on local retail, the hospitality industry and the entire service sector.” In addition, delivery problems caused by the pandemic put a strain on production.
In addition, in view of the corona situation, the federal government wants to give the operators of Christmas markets more support. This was announced by the acting Minister of Economic Affairs, Peter Altmaier. It is about easier access to equity grants. Due to the drastic increase in the number of infections, some countries have decided to cancel Christmas markets. Affected retail companies should continue to have the option of taking into account non-salable seasonal goods as part of the bridging aid.