Over 3mn German workers live below poverty line – report

Being employed in Germany is no longer enough to make ends meet, as around 3.1 million workers receive salaries below the country’s poverty threshold. People have been forced to cut back on food and heating in order to survive, German media reported.

READ MORE: Richest 1% to own more than half world's wealth by 2016 - Oxfam

The number of workers living in poverty surged 25 percent between 2008 and 2013 - Saarbrücker Zeitung newspaper citing Germany's Federal Statistical Office data. In 2008, there were just 2.5 million workers living below the minimum income deemed adequate.

In 2013, the German poverty line was a salary of €979 (about $1,097) per person.

Surveyed workers said they have cut back on things like food and heating in order to make ends meet, including rent payments, data from 2013 household surveys showed.

During that year, over 530,000 low-income workers could only afford to eat one full meal every other day, and over 417,000 others were living without enough heat. Another 380,000 workers said they were behind on their rent payments.

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Taking a vacation was also out of question for 1.5 million employees, while 600,000 others could not afford a car.

“The number of workers who earn scarcely or marginally more than the government unemployment benefits (Hartz IV) is alarmingly high,” the president of the social association VdK Ulrike Mascher told the Saarbrücker Zeitung.

Last year, Germany introduced its first national minimum wage policy, setting a minimum income at €8.50 ($9.50) per hour. The new law came into effect on January 1, 2015.

READ MORE: Quarter of world population 'either near or living in poverty' – UN

Latest data from Oxfam, released in January, reveals that wealth disparity has been rising. The report estimated that the collective wealth of the world’s richest 1 percent will exceed that of the other 99 percent of the global population next year, “leaving ordinary people voiceless and their interests uncared for.”

Last July, the UN issued a report stating that more than 2.2 billion people worldwide are “either near or living in poverty.”

“Almost 1.5 billion people are multi-dimensionally poor, with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. And close to 800 million people are vulnerable to falling back into poverty when setbacks occru,” the 2014 Human Development Report said.