Since 1 January 2015, Germany has had a minimum wage (German: Mindestlohn), which was then 8.50 euros per hour. This regulation is intended to combat excessively low wages and dumping prices. In addition, the minimum wage is also intended to prevent employees from being forced to claim social benefits because they are underpaid. In this article you can find out who is entitled to the minimum wage in Germany and what employers have to look out for.
Minimum Wage in Germany in 2022
The last time the minimum wage in Germany was raised was in July 2021 and is currently €9.60 per hour. The next increase in Germany’s minimum wage occurred on January 1, 2022 and is 9.82 euros per hour.
German minimum wage of €12?
The newly formed coalition government has already announced that it will raise the minimum wage to 12 euros per hour by the end of 2022. Time will tell whether this promise will be fulfilled (read more about it here).
Minimum wage in Germany – this is who is entitled to it!
Whether you are talking about foreign workers, seasonal workers, mini-job workers or apprentices – the right to the minimum wage applies to all workers employed in Germany.
Apprentices are only entitled to the minimum wage if the apprenticeship is voluntary, takes place in the context of a course of study or vocational training and lasts longer than three months, or if the apprentice has a university degree or vocational training. In this case, the right to the minimum wage is given from the first day of the apprenticeship.
The amount of the minimum wage can be changed at the request of the standing committee of one of the parties to the collective agreement.
Minimum wage in Germany – who is not entitled to it?
Unfortunately, it’s not all gold that glitters. The statutory minimum wage in Germany does not apply to the following groups of people:
- Persons under the age of 18 who do not have vocational training
- Long-term unemployed, in the first six months of employment
- Persons under 18 years of age who have not completed vocational training
- Persons with disabilities who have not completed vocational training
- Disabled persons employed in workshops for disabled people
- Persons in compulsory school or university training that does not last longer than three months
Are I entitled to the minimum wage during my vocational training in Germany?
Good news for all vocational trainees in Germany (Ausbildung): From 2020, such persons are entitled to the minimum wage. As part of the vocational training reform, the Bundestag and Bundesrat have agreed to amend the law. In 2022, the minimum wage for those doing Ausbildung is:
- 585 euros per month in the first year of training
- 690 euros per month in the second year of study
- 790 euros per month in the third year of study
- 819 euros per month in the fourth year of study
In 2023 there will be an increase and the minimum wage for apprentices in Germany will be:
- 620 euros per month in the first year of training
- 732 euros per month in the second year of training
- 837 euros per month in the third year of study
- 868 euros per month in the fourth year of study
Good to know: Trainees are often eligible to receive family allowance during the period of vocational training.
Does the minimum wage in Germany also apply to Minijob and part-time work?
Since the minimum wage in Germany is linked to the concept of employee, it also applies to part-time and temporary work. In other words, minijob workers and other part-time employees are also entitled to the minimum wage. Freelancers and self-employed persons, on the other hand, are not employees (workers) within the meaning of German law, and therefore the Minimum Wage Act does not apply to them.
Can the boss withhold the minimum wage for any reason?
Your boss in Germany cannot refuse to pay the minimum wage, just as he cannot circumvent it by more or less transparent means. Like any employer, he or she must comply with the law, or else face hefty fines (up to €500,000) and other penalties.
Minimum wage in Germany by industry
The table below shows the minimum rates provided by the minimum wage regulations in Germany, broken down by industry and occupation:
|Current minimum wage (€/h)
|14,50 (uneducated 13,00)
|Internal cleaning workers
|Facade cleaning workers
|Temporary agency workers (Leiharbeiter)
|12,00 (from 1.09.22 - 13,70)
|Care workers with at least one year of training
|12,50 (from 1.09.22 - 14,60)
|Skilled nursing workers
|15,00 (from 01.09.22 - 17,10)
|12,85 (West Germany, Berlin, East Germany)
|Skilled building worker
|15,70 (West Germany)
|Painter (with vocational training)
|12,55 (as of 1.10.22 - 12,85 )
|Teachers with a bachelor's degree
What do employers need to pay attention to?
Employers who employ low-wage earners, temporary workers or who operate in one of the industries listed in Section 2 of the Schwarzarbeitsgesetz (Black Labour Act) must record the beginning, end and duration of an employee’s daily work up to a maximum of seven days after the employee has completed the day’s work. This information must be kept for a minimum of two years. The industries listed in Section 2 of the black labor law are construction, catering, transportation, meat processing, as well as companies that transport people, clean buildings and install and dismantle spatial structures at fairs and exhibitions.
Answers to questions about minimum wage in Germany
Germany’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (German: Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales) is answering citizens’ questions about the minimum wage. A special hotline has been set up for this purpose:
The helpline is open from Monday to Thursday from 8 am to 8 pm.
Cost of Living in Germany
How does this relate to the cost of living in Germany? Read:
Earnings in Germany
If you want to know how much Germans earn, then the following article is worth reading: