The Bundestag has decided to increase the statutory minimum wage to twelve euros from October 1st. For around six million people, this is “possibly the biggest jump in wages of 22 percent in their lives,” said Labor Minister Hubertus Heil. “Anyone who has previously earned gross 1700 euros full-time on the basis of the minimum wage will receive 2100 euros in the future,” said the minister. “It’s still not the world, but it’s noticeable in the wallet.”
The minimum wage law was passed with the votes of the coalition and the left. The Union MPs and the AfD abstained. The gross minimum wage is currently EUR 9.82. On July 1, it will rise to EUR 10.45 as scheduled. At the same time, the limit for mini-jobs will rise from 450 to 520 euros in October.
The draft law assumes that there are currently around 6.2 million employees with an hourly wage of less than 12 euros. Women and people in East Germany should benefit disproportionately from the increase, as Heil said in the debate. Heil emphasized that without Olaf Scholz as chancellor, the minimum wage would not be increased. The SPD politician had made raising the lower wage limit a core promise of the federal election campaign.
Several speakers warned that the current price explosion is threatening the very existence of many people. The Left budget expert Gesine Lötzsch said: “Actually, it should be 13 euros now.” Another relief package is needed.
Heil referred to the relief for people with normal and low incomes that the coalition is launching. Green social expert Andreas Audretsch said people working full-time shouldn’t be at risk of poverty at the end of the day. The increase in the minimum wage also increases purchasing power.
The CDU social expert Hermann Gröhe accused the coalition of chaotic voices when it came to curbing the enormous price increases. If further price jumps were allowed, a higher minimum wage would be of little use. Gröhe justified the non-approval of the Union by saying that she did not want to reach out to the “disenfranchisement of the social partners”.
The SPD MP Dagmar Schmidt admitted: “Many have to ask themselves whether the money is still enough for fruit, the trip to grandma, the school trip.” The coalition will continue to fight inflation. In addition, Schmidt promoted the “social climate money”, a planned one-time payment per year that Heil had announced for 2023. Schmidt called the increase in the minimum wage an “act of self-defense against falling collective bargaining agreements”.
AfD MP Norbert Kleinwaechter said that many foreign workers in Germany promoted competition on the job market and depressed wage levels. “A healthy market would not need a minimum wage, because it has rules and it has limits.”
The FDP social expert Pascal Kober praised the raising of the mini-job limit. Mini-jobbers would help when it comes to full shelves in the supermarket at any time of the day or service in the restaurant in the evening. With the increase in the mini-job limit, the shortage of skilled workers will also be counteracted to a small extent.
The employers’ association BDA had already criticized the minimum wage increase in advance. “We are not concerned with the amount of the minimum wage,” said Employer President Rainer Dulger to WELT. “The federal government is not sticking to the agreements that we made in 2015 when the minimum wage commission was founded with the introduction of the statutory minimum wage.”