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More and more German pensioners forced to work

The number of working senior citizens has increased significantly in a ten-year comparison. This is shown by statistics from the employment agency. Social organisations observe this development with concern.

Published: June 8, 2022, 11:48 am

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    Retirees deliver newspapers, give private lessons, work as drivers or clean: In Schleswig-Holstein, more and more people of retirement age are forced to work. The NDR has analysed figures from the Federal Employment Agency with the most recent data from September 2021, when there were around 39 000 employees in Schleswig-Holstein who were at least 67 years old.

    In September 2011, the number was still around 27 000. In a ten-year comparison, the number of working seniors has thus gone up significantly.

    In 2020, the average pension of a woman in Schleswig-Holstein was 767 euros per month. Men received significantly more: their average pension was 1269 euros. This is according to statistics from the German Pension Insurance. Accordingly, senior women are more often affected by old-age poverty than senior men.

    According to the Northern Statistical Office, more older people live in Schleswig-Holstein today than ten years ago. But at the same time, the proportion of those who earn extra money has risen from 4,9 to 6,3 percent, according to NDR calculations.

    What also emerges from the figures of the employment agency in Schleswig-Holstein is that most of the working seniors are marginally employed, i.e. have a mini-job. Only about one in five pensioners who earned extra money in September 2021 was in employment subject to social insurance contributions.

    For social associations, this development is fundamentally a cause for concern. “Most of these people see themselves forced to earn extra money,” says Ronald Manzke, managing director at VdK Nord. Admittedly, there are pensioners who want to continue working for fun. “But many actually need it for their livelihood. That they can buy food and medicine at all. That they can afford their flat,” Manzke explained.

    According to VdK Nord, when older people have to continue working out of financial necessity, it is often at the expense of their health. The association demanded that the pension level be raised to well over 50 percent. At the same time, however, the standard retirement age should not be raised.

    The Schleswig-Holstein Social Association in Germany (SoVD) also criticised the government. “If a 70-year-old still has to deliver newspapers out of economic hardship or a 70-year-old ‘collects’ shopping trolleys in discounters, there is something wrong in our society,” the regional chairman Alfred Bornhalm said in response to a question from NDR Schleswig-Holstein.

    Some seniors, he explained, continue to work out of shame in order not to have to apply for basic security on top of their meagre pensions. “This is still seen as a stigma among pensioners.”

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