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German government agrees on reform for care homes

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By Reuters

BERLIN – Germany’s government has agreed on a health care reform that includes a billion euro annual tax subsidy to increase the pay for nursing staff and reduce the contributions of care home residents, according to a draft bill seen by Reuters.

From next year, the government plans to annually contribute one billion euros ($1.22 billion) to Germany’s long-term care insurance, which is part of the obligatory health insurance, according to the document.

The contribution rate for childless people should be increased by 0.1 percentage points to 3.4%, while the contribution level for parents would remain at 3.05%.

Care homes and care service providers would have to pay their staff a certain minimum salary agreed with trade unions from September 2022 to be still allowed to settle their accounts with the health insurers, according to the agreement.

The government hopes that this will lead to higher wages for many of the staff as only around half of Germany’s 1.2 million care workers are currently paid on the basis of collective wage agreements, according to the labour ministry.

The contribution level care home residents have to pay should be limited depending on the level of their care dependency.

The draft law is due to be voted on by parliament on Wednesday, according to government sources.

Weekly Bild am Sonntag had reported the agreement first.

($1 = 0.8204 euros)