Germany Plans to Adjust Minimum Wage in 2017, Union Leader Says

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By Andrea Barbara Schuessler

May 20—The first adjustment in Germany's minimum is to occur Jan. 1, 2017, based on collective bargaining agreements, a union leader said May 19.

The hourly minimum wage now is 8.50 euros ($9.59). The amount of the adjusted minimum wage was not released.

Germany's minimum wage commission is to present a proposal to the German government in June 2016, said Reiner Hoffmann, head of the Federation of German Trade Unions DGB. The announcement was made at Germany's Foreign Press Club.

A commission made up of three employer representatives, three employee representatives and two academic experts is to propose adjusting the minimum wage every two years, with the first to occur Jan. 1, 2017.

“Once the commission has taken a decision, the German Cabinet may make the commission's proposed adjustment binding for all employers by issuing a legal ordinance,” Labor and Social Affairs Ministry deputy spokesman Dominik Ehrentraut told Bloomberg BNA on May 19. “The first adjustment based on a commission's decision is possible as of Jan. 1, 2017.”

The minimum wage commission operates independently of the German government, he said.

The Financial Control of Undeclared Employment, a part of Germany's customs administration, is in charge of controlling the minimum wage requirements, Ehrentraut said.

Effect on Work Force

About 3.7 million German employees are eligible for Germany's first hourly minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($9.59), which has been in effect since Jan. 1, 2015.

Interns younger than 18 and the long-term unemployed in the first six months of new employment are not eligible for the minimum wage.

Employers that attempt to evade the minimum wage requirement face fines of up to 500,000 euros ($563.905). Affected employees may file lawsuits against employers for up to three years after a failure to pay the minimum wage.

Seventeen of 22 European Union member states have increased minimum wages in 2016, said the February minimum wage report from the Institute of Economic and Social Research, an independent academic institute in Dusseldorf.

In 2015, European minimum wages rose an average 4.6 percent on average, compared with 3.7 percent in 2014. The increase was significantly more than in the first three years after the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Barbara Schuessler in Berlin at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jared Mondschein at

For More Information

Germany's minimum wage legislation is available in German in the country's federal law gazette at:*[%40attr_id%3D%27bgbl114s1348.pdf%27]__1458224238874

More information on Germany's minimum wage is available in German at:

More information on payroll issues in Germany is available in the Germany country primer.