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Germany’s minimum wage to rise in 2024: What you need to know

Germany’s minimum wage

The Mindestlohn, or minimum wage, in Germany serves as the statutory baseline for minimum wage levels. Presently, Germany holds the second-highest minimum wage among European Union countries. As of January 1, 2024, there is slated to be an additional uptick in both the general minimum wage and sector-specific minimum wages. This development brings joy to millions of workers.

Minimum wage increase in Germany by 2024

As of 2023, the officially mandated national minimum wage in Germany stands at EUR 12 gross per hour of work. Starting January 1, 2024, there will be an increase to EUR 12.41 gross per hour. This change, proposed by the Minimum Wage Commission comprising representatives from both employers and trade unions, has been communicated by the German government on its official website. The subsequent increase is slated for the commencement of 2025, reaching a minimum wage of EUR 12.82. For individuals working full-time, this translates to a salary boost to approximately EUR 2,200 gross per month.

The increase proposed by the Minimum Wage Commission in Germany has faced strong criticism from trade unions. They argue that a 3.4 percent raise is deemed unacceptable, especially in light of the inflation rate surpassing 6 percent. As a response to this, the unions are advocating for a more substantial adjustment in the statutory minimum wage, pushing for it to be set at either €13.50 or €14.
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Who is not entitled to the minimum wage in Germany?

The statutory minimum wage in Germany is generally applicable to all workers aged 18 and above. However, certain categories of workers, such as Mindestlohn, do not receive this benefit.

  • Apprentices in accordance with the Vocational Training Act (Auszubildende nach dem Berufsbildungsgesetz).
  • People working on a voluntary basis (ehrenamtlich tätige Personen).
  • Persons on voluntary service (Personen, die einen freiwilligen Dienst ableisten).
  • Participants in actions to support employment (Teilnehmer an einer Maßnahme der Arbeitsförderung).
  • Domestic workers in accordance with the Home Work Act (Heimarbeiter nach dem Heimarbeitsgesetz).
  • Self-employed persons (Selbstständige).
  • Juveniles under 18 years of age without completed vocational education (Jugendliche unter 18 Jahren ohne abgeschlossene Berufsausbildung).
  • Long-term unemployed during the first six months after returning to the labor market (Langzeitarbeitslose innerhalb der ersten sechs Monate nach Wiedereinstieg in den Arbeitsmarkt).
Germany has the second-highest minimum wage among European Union countries
Germany holds the second-highest minimum wage among European Union countries

Increase in industry minimum wages in Germany

In Germany, trade unions and employers negotiate industry-specific minimum wages as part of collective agreements, determining their existence. Employers set these industry-specific minimum wages at levels higher than the general minimum wage. Starting from the New Year, there will be increases in minimum industry wages in various sectors. In the electrical industry, a new minimum wage of EUR 13.95 per hour will be implemented as of January 1, 2024.

Effective January 1, 2024, the minimum wage for building cleaners is set to increase. For individuals engaged in interior cleaning and maintenance, the new rate will be EUR 13.50 per hour. Meanwhile, those involved in window and facade cleaning can expect an increase to EUR 16.70 per hour.
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In the care sector, minimum wages vary based on position and education level. Beginning December 1, 2023, unskilled care workers will be entitled to a minimum of €14.15 per hour. Employees with a minimum of one year of training will receive €15.25, and caregivers will be guaranteed a minimum wage of €18.25 per hour.

How much are salary supplements in Germany?

Under German regulations, aside from the minimum wage, workers have the right to receive additional allowances for working during nighttime, on holidays, or in challenging conditions. These allowances are:

  • For night work – 20% of the hourly rate;
  • For work on holidays and Sundays – 75% of the hourly rate for work on Sundays and holidays falling on Sundays. The allowance for work on Easter Sunday, Pentecost, May 1, Christmas and other holidays that do not fall on a Sunday is 200% of the hourly rate;
  • An allowance of about EUR 1.45-2 is due for work in difficult conditions, such as work at heights, which is charged on a lump sum basis.

Minijob pay increase from January 1, 2024

The law caps compensation for Minijob work, stopping it from exceeding the specified monthly amount. In 2023, the limit is EUR 520 per month, with a maximum monthly working time of 43.33 hours, calculated at the minimum wage of EUR 12 per hour. In 2024, the earnings limit for Minijobs is set to increase to EUR 538 per month, accompanied by a raise in the minimum wage to EUR 12.41 per hour. Consequently, this adjustment will lead to a maximum monthly working time of 43.35 hours.
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Minimum wage in Germany is generally applicable to all workers aged 18 and above
Minimum wage in Germany is applicable to all workers aged 18 and above

How much do you need to live in Germany?

Modern life is full of challenges and high costs, particularly in meeting basic needs. While Germany boasts a job-friendly environment and one of the highest minimum wages in Europe, a significant number of individuals express concerns about financial difficulties. The question then arises: What income is necessary for you to live in Germany? Economists suggest that an income positioned midway between the earnings of the wealthiest and the poorest provides a benchmark. Currently, this middle ground, known as median earnings, stands at EUR 1,794 net per month. Consequently, an individual earning a salary three times higher than the median is classified as affluent.