Latvia: On 13 February 2015, bnt attorneys-at-law Riga office held a seminar on the reform of minimum wage regarding foreign truck drivers in Germany.
The seminar was co-organized with the German Baltic Chamber of Commerce (AHK), the Finnish Chamber of Commerce (FCCL), and the Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL).
Sebastian Harschneck, attorney-at-law and partner of bnt attorneys-at-law (Nürnberg), presented on the 2015 German reform of minimum wage for drivers applicable to both Germany and any Latvian company providing carriage into and through Germany.
On 1 January 2015, Germany enacted a general area-wide minimum wage of 8.50 EUR. According to the German Government, the minimum wage requirement applies not only to workers who are permanently employed in Germany, but also to any short or long-term activities within the German territory. New regulation is also applicable to any foreign truck drivers providing carriages within Germany. High fines (up to 500,000 EUR) could be imposed for any violations of the minimum wage requirements.
At present, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Germany has suspended the application of minimum wage for transit shipments through Germany. The suspension does not apply to shipments which are loaded or unloaded in Germany. Such shipments are still affected by the law on minimum wage.
The European Commission has announced it will review the issue with the results expected up and until June 2015.
In addition, Renars Gasuns, Senior Associate of bnt attorneys-at-law (Rīga) presented on the recent Latvian case law developments regarding employment of drivers providing international carriages. The practice of the Latvian Labour and Tax Authorities was analysed regarding applicable regulations on the temporary provisions of foreign services (including both the differences between the habitual work in another country, and the posting of employees and business trips). Mr. Gasuns also highlighted the recent case law regarding time accountancy and business trip compensation in the workplace.