Update Minimum wage

Germany: News on the minimum wage: infringement proceedings, increase on 01.01.2017 and applicability to standby times

In Germany a general minimum wage of 8.50 EUR (gross) hourly applies since the start of 2015.

By May 2015 the EU Commission had initiated the first level of infringement proceedings against Germany because of concerns about the (nearly unlimited) scope of application of the law. In particular, there were concerns about unlimited application in the transport sector.

As the Commission and Germany were unable to agree on a common position in the meantime, the Commission has now initiated the second level – formal infringement proceedings. The German authorities are asked to present their answers to the Commission’s arguments within the next two months.

In parallel, the Commission has also initiated infringement proceedings against France over its minimum wage regulations applicable from 1 July 2016.

Almost at the same time, the committee of employees’ and employers’ representatives has decided to increase the minimum wage on 01.01.2017 by 34 cents to 8.84 EUR.

A decision of the Federal Labour Court (BAG) strikes the transport branch particularly hard: the judges decided at final instance that the minimum wage also applies to standby times. This must be expected to have an impact, especially on the costs of long distance transport, which are often carried out by a two-man crew.

Sources: Press release by European Commission on 16.06.2016 and BAG, decision of 29.06.2016, 5 AZR 716/15

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