Millions of low-income workers in Germany will earn more money this year. The federal government has agreed to raise the legal minimum wage to €12 per hour later this year. This emerges from the bill, which is available to RTL/ntv. Currently, the minimum wage in Germany is 9.82 euros gross per hour.
According to the bill, the higher minimum wage will come into force on October 1, 2022. About 6.2 million citizens will benefit from it. “This is a matter of justice and respect,” – Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil said in his first statement Friday night on the “RTL Aktuell” program.
Heil: Minimum wage does not cost jobs
In an interview with RTL-Aktuell, Heil dismissed concerns that a higher minimum wage could lead to job losses. In his view, a minimum wage would not only not hurt the labor market, but is actually a matter of economic justification. “Higher wages, especially in this area, also means stronger purchasing power,” he said. Heil also doesn’t expect consumer prices to rise. Inflation is currently driven mainly by high energy costs, he said. “That has nothing to do with the minimum wage for now.”
The minimum wage should better secure livelihoods
Heil’s bill states that about four million people have benefited from the statutory minimum wage since its introduction in 2015. No jobs have been lost as a result, nor has the competitiveness of businesses suffered. Furthermore, the coalition currently in power in Germany points to other countries, “Compared to other European countries, the German minimum wage is below average.
In the face of rising living and housing costs, the federal government is concerned that the current minimum wage does not provide an adequate living wage for a full-time employee. Even a low-wage job should be sufficient for full-time workers to participate in society and protect themselves from poverty in old age.
Especially the SPD and the Greens promised during the Bundestag election campaign an increase to 12 euros. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has always described this project as one of the most important.
German employers threaten lawsuits
Until now, a so-called minimum wage commission has been responsible for setting the level of the minimum wage. Employer and employee representatives make decisions in the commission independently of politicians. The current federal government is now bypassing this procedure as an exception to significantly raise the minimum wage in one step. The bill reads: “With the one-time increase of the minimum wage to 12 euros gross per hour of work, this instrument will be further developed so that in the future the aspect of social participation is taken more into account when setting the minimum wage.” In the future, the commission is again to decide on the minimum wage.
Employers’ unions criticize that politics is changing the minimum wage independently for the first time. They stress that autonomy in collective bargaining is enshrined in the Basic Law. German employers are threatening lawsuits against the law.