Thursday, April 30, 2009

(De)cipher your Kurzarbeitergeld

Kurzarbeitergeld (wage for reduced working hours) or KUG wouldn't be a new word for many employed in Germany during these turbulent economic times. Even though it is scary, I guess people who are receiving KUG should consider themselves lucky - that they still have a job in hand. 

Many undergoing Kurzarbeit would be waiting for the payslip (Brutto-Netto-Abrechnung) to find out how much they would have in hand for a month. The ones who already completed atleast a month with Kurzarbeit would be beating their brain to find out how KUG is calculated. 

In simple words, KUG is 60% of the difference Brutto (that is, difference between the Gross Salary you were receiving before Kurzarbeit and the Gross Salary during Kurzarbeit). In case, you have kids then it is slightly higher at 67%. Whatever it is, you might find that the calculations doesn't seem to match with what you have in your payslip. Forget math and follow the simple steps below to find out the Netto (Net Salary) during Kurzarbeit.

Step 1

Step 2

Fill in the Brutto before Kurzarbeit and during Kurzarbeit. For example, if your Brutto was €4000 earlier and you are currently working only 50% (that is working for 20hrs a week instead of 40hrs), your current Brutto would be €2000. 

Also fill in the other details in the form and click berechnen.

Step 3
Note down the KUG calculated (€711,87 in the example above)

Step 4

Step 5

Fill in the Brutto during Kurzarbeit (same as before) and other details and click Berechnen.

Step 6

Note down Netto-Arbeitslohn.

Step 7
Sum up the noted down KUG and Netto-Arbeitslohn. This would be your Netto including KUG for the month.
Shall I change the title to "KUG calculation for dummies"?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Aftermath of the "Final Solution"

Germany has its history written all over it, most of which every German would like to forget (or rather, not think about it anymore). But at times, the history sends its messages as gentle reminders of the pain the country and its people went through. 

Yesterday, some workers at a construction site, about 4kms from where we stay, uncovered human bones, what the experts later found to be the remains of a German soldier.

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The remains also had 2 metal belt buckles, the knapsack of the soldier (which had an ashtray, a toothbrush with paste tubes and some coins) and some ammunition.

During World War II, Pforzheim was bombed a number of times. In one of the largest raids carried out by the British Royal Air Force, on the evening of February 23, 1945, about one fifth of the town's population, over 17,000 people, were killed, and about 83% of the town's buildings were destroyed.

Ironically, German authorities began an excavation yesterday at another site south of Berlin that they believe contains one of the last undiscovered mass graves of Jews killed by the Nazis. 

The excavation site marks the spot where, on February 2, 1945, 753 sick men and women, originally from Poland and Hungary, are believed to have been killed by the SS after being transported from Auschwitz death camp.

True reminders of the Final Solution (Endlösung) on Earth day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's only a flat tyre after all

I was at Karlsruhe Zoo during Easter weekend with my family. 

What amazed my 3 year old son the most was not the monkeys at the zoo, but the bus undergoing repair in front of the zoo.

It blew me away too, to see a pick-up truck and a van at the spot, engaged in replacing a tyre and 20+ onlookers (all watching just the tyre being replaced with at most curiosity).

Seems like German tyres are really tough! They rarely let the rim touch the ground.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Really delicious!

A s my collection of DVDs (especially, the Thomas & Friends and Noddy favorites of my little mouse) grew, I was finding it extremely difficult to catalog them. A spreadsheet would have been a good solution some years back. But I don't think I could manage the time anymore to type down all the inventory details into a sheet manually.  I stumbled upon a wonderful tool which cut the eternal Gordian knot for me. 

The Mac OS X based tool acts as a digital shelf. The really cool interface (which truly looks like a wooden shelf) displays the covers of all DVDs and books I have. All I had to do was to 
scan the barcode (ISBN/UPC) on my books/DVDs with the in-built camera on my notebook and Delicious Library downloaded all the necessary information from the Internet like the author, release date, description, and even a high-resolution image of the cover and added it to the library. The scanning and downloading of information is incredibly fast (that is, 4-5 seconds).  I even managed to catalog my television, DVD player, notebook and many other devices with the simple barcode scanning. The cool thing is, as soon as it locates the information on the net, it reads out the name of the item for me. So I don't even have to look at my screen while scanning and can queue the items one after the other. 

This is how my shelf looks like now.

Delicious! Isn't it?