Social welfare recipients will see a rougher wind in the canton of Zurich in the future: the Federal Supreme Court today gave the green light for tightening the Social Assistance Act. In the future, those who receive social assistance will only be able to defend themselves against a sanction if it has already been imposed.
Today you can file an appeal beforehand and thus prevent a requirement or instruction from coming into force. For example, it is an order to move into a cheaper apartment or to attend a work integration program.
The Zurich cantonal parliament decided to tighten it at the end of 2018. Critics warn that welfare recipients are forced to behave annoyingly. The change curtailed fundamental rights. The independent specialist agency for social welfare law has therefore brought the decision to the Federal Court. The complaint was also supported by the aid organization Caritas and Pastor Sieber’s social services.
But their resistance was futile. With just three to two votes, the Lausanne judges rejected the complaint. As a rule, those affected do not face any disadvantages that cannot be made good if they cannot contest the orders directly. But it cannot be completely ruled out. If this is the case, you should be able to contest the sanction immediately before the cantonal court.
Signal effect for other cantons?
The tightening is due to a move by SVP cantonal councilor Benedikt Hoffmann (49), who was also signed by colleagues from the FDP and GLP. This could prevent social assistance recipients from delaying a sanction with a complaint. This saved costs, argued the supporters. Security director Mario Fehr (61, SP) also supported the proposal – and thus against his party, which had opposed the initiative.
The decision could have a signal effect on other cantons. It is not only in Zurich that there is discussion about a tougher approach towards social welfare recipients. In Aargau, Baselland and Solothurn, for example, proposals for tightening are also under discussion. (LHA / SDA)