Insurance payments could curb jobs for Poles

27th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 May 2005, WARSAW - German farmers will have to make payments to Poland to cover social insurance contributions for Polish seasonal workers employed in Germany, raising the prospect of higher labour costs and fewer jobs for Poles.

27 May 2005

WARSAW - German farmers will have to make payments to Poland to cover social insurance contributions for Polish seasonal workers employed in Germany, raising the prospect of higher labour costs and fewer jobs for Poles.

As of 1 July, German employers will be required to pay 20.64 percent of salaries paid to Poles to Poland's ZUS public social insurance agency, according to a report on Friday in Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

Under a bilateral agreement reached last week, Polish workers in turn will also be obliged to pay 27.21 percent of their earnings to the ZUS themselves.

Earnings for Poles doing seasonal jobs in Germany could drop by as much as half, Gazeta predicts. Only students, pensioners and housewives not earning a regular income in Poland will be exempt from making the insurance payments.

Ninety percent of the more than 300,000 Poles who find jobs in Germany each year are engaged in seasonal farm labour picking asparagus, strawberries and other crops.

German farmers were already considering hiring less expensive labourers from Romania, according to Gazeta.

One German farmer quoted by the daily said he was still willing to employ Poles but had doubts whether they would want to work for nearly 30 percent less.

The new insurance rule was adopted to bring labour practice into line with EU standards. Poland was the largest of 10 mainly ex-communist states to have joined the bloc in May 2004.

DPA

Subject: German news

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