Permanent home office is even more likely to become the norm. In some areas it won’t work, but where possible it will be normal for people to spend a few days in the office and a few days in the home office. That makes sense from an ecological point of view. We also know from many studies that people who have to commute are more unhappy. Because traffic jams or public transport simply stress people out. If we manage to create more time like this, everyone will be served.
What are the outstanding issues?
There are technical questions attached to it. What does the employer pay and what does the employee pay? At the moment you can deduct an office in your own home from taxation: The question will be how often do you have to work from home to make that possible.
Many entrepreneurs report that they are looking for new employees despite the economic crisis, but none of them respond to job offers. They blame short-time work for this because nobody leaves their comfort zone. How long does this model still make sense?
Short-time work preserves the situation on the labor market. In certain segments of the labor market, where there is a shortage of staff despite the economic crisis, of course nothing is moving. This is why the current form of short-time work will come to an end as soon as the health crisis is over. There will be short-time work afterwards, just like before this short-time work in the crisis. We are currently preparing that short-time working will be extended again at the end of March. How long depends on the infection.
When short-time work ends, how high will unemployment be?
I am quite optimistic that only a small part of the short-time work will fall into unemployment. If the entrepreneurs expected that the situation would not get better, then they would immediately send the employees into unemployment and not keep them on short-time work.
Also in view of the forecast wave of bankruptcies?
Here, too, I hope that there won’t be a big wave. There will be a catch-up effect, because there were fewer bankruptcies in 2020 than in 2019. Here you have to make sure that the deferrals may be extended so that there is no cliff effect and many companies fall over the cliff at a certain point in time.
A few months ago you spoke out in favor of a follow-up project to “Aktion 20,000” – “with slightly different specifications and more efficiently”. How do you want to help older long-term unemployed quickly?
The 20,000 campaign is somewhat embellished. Because for some it is the panacea. It sure isn’t. And the others see it as an instrument that only costs and does not bring anything. We already have an active labor market policy and we have to build a good model for the affected group. Not as extensive as the 20,000 campaign. I think they are very expensive and not efficient enough. The campaign was successful in some areas and not in some areas. One can learn from this.
You have spoken out in favor of pricing. As a minister and despite the pandemic, do you stick to this opinion?
If we want to stick to the Paris Climate Agreement, then we need a reduction path, but that is already set by the EU. Now the question is, how do you get there? One measure is not enough. Various things have to be discussed openly here. The last point is the pricing of emissions. We will not do without this measure. Why do i believe that Because it creates stronger incentives to invest in climate-friendly technologies – especially among private households, because companies are already doing it. We need that, because private households in particular must make a massive contribution to the reduction.
When the time comes, the Greens will have a supporter in the government …
I don’t even know whether the Greens are so happy about the pricing and whether they agree with my opinion. Because there are also arguments that the pricing is unfair and that it affects the low-wage ear more.