Fair Play … Fair salaries for nurses and teachers

[04 Jun 2020: parts of this entry are still under construction as I have to do more research]

During corona we speak often about the jobs in the crucial sectors and critical processes. Jobs and tasks that keep our communities running. The Dutch government offers a - in my view - comprehensive list (Government of the Netherlands 20 Mar 2020 and 04 Jun 2020). You may see: "Healthcare and care" and "Education" precede "Public transport" and "Food supply".

This I read as a sign of awareness and respect. Looking on the salaries for people working in these areas I realized some inequality at least in Germany.

In Germany geriatric nurses earn less than nurses in hospitals and primary school teachers earn less than secondary school teachers.

The work of geriatric nurses and primary school teachers is at least as complex, demanding and relevant as the work of the other teachers and nurses for our society and each of us.

In the follwing I take a closer look on the current working situation during corona and some salary data, first for nurses and then for teachers. Both sections end with a conclusion and a request. A third section looks on the debate of unconditional basic income (UBI) vs. raising lower incomes.



[intro - 04 Jun 2020: under construction]


corona induced change

[04 Jun 2020: under construction]


salary data

[04 Jun 2020: under construction]


conclusion and request

As this is a serial on cornoa-induced _change_ it is to ask:
Who is in charge?

Politicians and decision makers in the health care system, I ask you to

rise the salaries in such relevant areas as teaching and nursing.

Education is the second crucial sector, that got more into public awareness during corona and is topic of this blog entry.



From the middle of March 2020 on I met several times a German and a Dutch primary school teacher (both female). I could follow their fast change from f2f to long distance, and see the amount of work and how this took its toll. Tired, but still in a very good mood. "Thanks to the intervision with my colleagues", was the comment.


corona induced change

corona induced a fast change from face to face learning and teaching (f2f) to long distance learning. Even teachers that had said before corona: I can't do it, there is no time and no benefits.  And school managers, who had delayed the introduction and use of blended learning, suddenly became promotors. Blended learning is the combination of f2f, e-learning and self-studies alone our in groups (blog 07 Dez 2013).

Even with the doubling of the work amount: from the middle of May 2020 on (not only) the primary school teachers I met have to do both, at least in Germany, f2f and long distance.

Did you ever try to separate 6 year olds on a distance of 1.5 meters? Kids, who did not meet each other for eight weeks and who are longing to play and learn together again. I am sure these teachers and her colleagues will have success.


salary data

Why does a teacher at a secondary school ("Öffentliche weiterführende allgemeinbildende Schulen A14") earn 5700 Euros per month and a primary school teacher ("Öffentliche Grundschulen E11") earns 4800 Euros per month? The numbers stem from the report "Bildungs-Finanzbericht 2019" (Financial report on education in Germany 2019) of the "Destatis Statistisches Bundesamt" (German Federal Office of Statistics). You find explanations and more numbers on pages 40 and 41 (destatis 2019). The situation is convoluted, because in Germany the federal states hold the governmental power in education. Julia Holzapfel explains the situation in the article "How much does a teacher in Germany earn?" (Holzapfel 2017)

"Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe – 2017/18. Eurydice Facts and Figures" by European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (EUC 2019) gives a comprehensive overview on the situation of teachers in different education levels in the Eurydice area. The report describes teaching as follows

Teaching has changed considerably over recent years. It is no longer concerned only with the transmission of knowledge. Increasing emphasis is now being placed on facilitating the learning process – supporting learners, co-creating knowledge with them, and helping them to develop key competences. Teachers are expected to use information and communication technologies (ICT), work in teams, teach children from a variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, engage with families, facilitate the integration of children with special education needs (SEN) and contribute to school leadership and management. In turn, school heads must provide leaderships for staff, support their professional development, improve school performance, liaise with local stakeholders and manage financial resources.
(EUC 2019, p 11)

This is independet of the education level. The work of a primary school teacher is as demanding and important as the work of other teachers (Weßel 2017 "Entdecken").


conclusion and request

The German and the Eurodice reports and a look on the economical, social and enrionmental situation of countries in the OECD area, the Eurydice area and worldwide induced my following conclusion.

  1. The situation in Germany is overall very good, not only economically, but also seen from the perspective of the Human Development Factor (note the critics in the English and Germen entries on Wikipedia - see references).
  2. The situation of teachers in Germany is well. Their income is higher than the average income and the GDP aggregate per capita (EUC 2018, p 44 and 187).
  3. Nevertheless there is an inequality in the salary of teachers in different education levels although the qualification requirements are similar (EUC 2018, p 44). This inequality increases over the years of experience (EUC 2018, p 44).
  4. I see this inequality as an inequity.

As this is a serial on cornoa-induced _change_ it is to ask:
Who is in charge?

Politicians and decision makers in the educational systems, I ask you to

 rise the salaries of primary school teachers to the levels of secondary school teachers

 and erase the inequities between the federal states.

This leads to a further aspect of fair salaries.


unconditional basic income (UBI) vs. raise lower incomes

In my view there is no use in the unconditional basic income (UBI): I have seen too many people, that do not work, (a) because they do not want to work or (b) because their "income" from the welfare system is as high as a job or just minimal lower. So, where is the use in work?

Of course, work gives us more than money. We know this from Maslow and others (Crainer 2000). But to think that people would work voluntary and our cummunities would continue, is perhaps idealistic? I do not know. What I know is, that it is fair to pay people justly for their work.

Politicians and decision makers in economics and public and other institutions, I ask you to

raise lower incomes.

Then people can live a decent live with their important work for the community, for instance cleaners. Just have a look into hospitals and schools not only during corona.

In the OECD area a large amount of the gross income goes to social security contributions, among others health care. The following part of this mini-serial Fair Play takes a closer look.

Christa Weßel - Thursday, 04 Jun 2020




[04 Jun 2020: under construction]



This entry is part of the mini-serial Fair Play …
and the
Blog section Together

< Business and Sustainability    this entry    Fair social insurance contributions >