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By Andrea Barbara Schuessler
June 29—Germany’s Labor Minister Andrea Nahles will shortly submit a Cabinet regulation to increase the country’s hourly minimum wage from 8.50 euros ($9.39) to 8.84 euros ($9.77) effective Jan. 1, 2017, Labor Ministry spokesman Christian Westhoff told Bloomberg BNA in a telephone interview June 29.
Germany’s minimum wage commission—an independent body made up of three employer representatives, three employee representatives and two academic experts—unanimously decided to increase the minimum wage June 28. Increasing the minimum wage does not require parliamentary approval, Westhoff said.
Not everyone is happy with the increase, however.
“Given the immigration of refugees, I would have considered it appropriate for the time being not to raise the minimum wage,” Clemens Fuest, president of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich and a non-voting member of the minimum wage commission, said in a June 28 statement. “I fear that this will have an impact on the integration of refugees. But it is positive that the commission has not followed public demands to raise the minimum wage to more than nine euros.”
About 3.7 million German employees are eligible for the country's first hourly minimum wage, effective since Jan. 1, 2015.
Seventeen of 22 European Union member states have increased minimum wages in 2016, according to 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 compared to 3.7 percent in 2014. The increase was significantly more than in the first three years after the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.
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