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Low-Wage Work in Germany
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In recent years, the German government has intentionally expanded the low-wage work sector in an effort to reduce exceptionally high levels of unemployment. As a result, the share of the German workforce employed in low-paying jobs now rivals that of the United States. Low Wage Work in Germany examines both the federal policies and changing economic conditions that have driven this increase in low-wage work. The new “mini-job” reflects the federal government’s attempt to make certain low-paying jobs attractive to both employers and employees. Employers pay a low flat rate for benefits, and employees, who work a limited number of hours per week, are exempt from social security and tax contributions. Other factors, including slow economic growth, a declining collective bargaining system, and the influx of foreign workers, also contribute to the growing incidence of low-wage work. Yet while both Germany and the U.S. have large shares of low-wage workers, German workers receive health insurance, four weeks of paid vacation, and generous old age support—benefits most low-wage workers in the U.S. can only dream of. The German experience offers an important opportunity to explore difficult trade-offs between unemployment and low-wage work.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. p. v
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  1. About the Authors
  2. p. vii
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  1. Introduction: The German Story
  2. pp. 1-14
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. 15-18
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  1. 1. Low-Wage Work in Germany: An Overview
  2. pp. 19-112
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  1. 2. Pay in Customer Services Under Pressure: Call Center Agents
  2. pp. 113-146
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  1. 3. Wild West Conditions in Germany?! Low-Skill Jobs in Food Processing
  2. pp. 147-176
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  1. 4. The Polarization of Working Conditions: Cleaners and Nursing Assistants in Hospitals
  2. pp. 177-213
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  1. 5. Still Lost and Forgotten? The Work of Hotel Room Attendants in Germany
  2. pp. 214-252
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  1. 6. Low-Paid but Committed to the Industry: Salespeople in the Retail Sector
  2. pp. 253-287
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  1. 7. Summary and Conclusions
  2. pp. 288-314
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 315-327
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