The number of sanctions against Hartz IV recipients rose slightly last year, but remains at a significantly lower level than before the pandemic.

The Federal Employment Agency announced this in its annual statistics on Monday in Nuremberg.

According to this, the job centers issued almost 194,000 sanctions in 2021, almost 23,000 more than in 2020. For comparison: in 2019 there were almost 807,000 sanctions.

Last year, 97 percent of Hartz IV recipients in Germany were unaffected by sanctions, only 3 percent were affected.

According to the Federal Employment Agency, the decline compared to 2019 is mainly due to a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court and the consequences of the Corona crisis.

Citizens' allowance instead of Hartz IV

The judges in Karlsruhe decided in November 2019 that not all sanction regulations in the basic security system were proportionate and that an interim solution was required until a new legal regulation was introduced.

The federal government therefore wants to suspend the sanctions by the end of the year - except for those for missed appointments.

The coalition parties plan to replace Hartz IV with citizen income in the future.

Normally, a large part of the sanctions are pronounced because Hartz IV recipients do not keep to the agreed appointments at the job center.

According to the federal agency, during the pandemic there were more telephone consultations and fewer personal appointments.

Failure to do so would have no consequences, it said.

As a result, the proportion of deductions for this reason fell from around 75 percent to around half.