Sad traffic light balance for the self-employed

Blick auf den Reichstag von vorn

We have also written several times here on our blog about the poor policy for the self-employed in Germany. Before the coalition agreement was signed, there was a little hope, but the coalition government has now finally dashed that hope. According to the VGSD, it has not implemented the most important measures for the self-employed and in some cases has even avowedly broken the coalition agreement.

Let’s start with what has been realised. The Verband der Gründer und Selbstständigen Deutschland e.V. (German Association of Entrepreneurs and the Self-Employed) writes that this has only been achieved in subordinate points. For example, the start-up aid was extended and the higher additional earnings limit for “bread-and-butter jobs” for those insured with the Künstlersozialkasse was retained. When it comes to reducing bureaucracy, there are at least efforts to improve the situation.

The self-employed fall by the wayside

However, no progress has been made on the plans for a new start-up subsidy, better access to unemployment insurance and the reform of the Infection Protection Act. The Ministry of Health had already announced that it would not honour the promise made in the coalition agreement that contributions from self-employed persons voluntarily insured in the statutory health insurance scheme above the mini-job threshold would be strictly income-related.

“The interests of the self-employed are being marginalised. Yet solo self-employed people are indispensable for the economy. With their flexibility and expertise, they support companies as skilled workers and drive the transformation forward,” says Andreas Lutz, Chairman of the VGSD.

Further omissions

Unfortunately, the points mentioned above are not the only failings of the traffic light government with regard to the self-employed and start-ups in Germany. The planned dialogue with the self-employed and their associations to improve the status determination procedure is also not being conducted. The goal of creating legal certainty with regard to bogus self-employment is receding further and further into the distance, as is the planned modernisation of parental allowance for the self-employed.

And what remains?

One of the few projects that is being worked on is the retirement provision obligation. However, everyone who has founded a company knows that this is more of a burden at the beginning because hardly anyone can afford to put money aside on the side. Nevertheless, according to the coalition agreement, their introduction is clearly linked to the strict income-based calculation of statutory health insurance contributions, which has not yet been addressed.

“The traffic light puts industry and large companies at the centre of its decisions. It must finally tackle the important issues in the first half of 2024 instead of just creating additional burdens for the self-employed,” says Andreas Lutz. He added: “Without a fair assessment of social security contributions and legal certainty with regard to bogus self-employment, the number of start-ups and self-employed people will continue to fall sharply.”

A detailed overview of the results after two years of the coalition agreement can be found here:

About VGSD
The Verband der Gründer und Selbstständigen Deutschland e.V. (VGSD), based in Munich, represents the interests of solo and micro-entrepreneurs, founders and part-time self-employed people. Founded in 2012, the association currently has around 6,000 association members and an additional 14,000 community members. Members come from all sectors. The proportion of knowledge workers and “new professions” is particularly high.