Admit it… you thought Germany already had a minimum wage, didn’t you?
BERLIN (Reuters) – From charging slaughterhouse workers for their knives to compensating staff with tanning salon vouchers, German employers are coming up with creative ways to avoid paying a new minimum wage, angering unions.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government introduced Germany’s first nationwide wage floor of 8.50 euros per hour early this year. The law was the brainchild of the Social Democrats (SPD), who made it a condition of joining Merkel’s coalition in 2013.
The centre-left party argued that it was a necessary response to the sharp rise in low-wage jobs over the past decade. Some 3.7 million people were expected to benefit.
But in the months since it went into effect it has become clear that not everyone is taking home more pay. The NGG food and catering union is fielding up to 400 calls a day from people who say their employers are finding ways to circumvent the law.