Heil expects a “significant increase” in the minimum wage in 2024

Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil expects a significant increase in the minimum wage next January. In the “Bild am Sonntag” newspaper, the SPD politician referred to continued high inflation and “proper wage increases, which will be reflected in the forthcoming increase in the minimum wage.” In the summer, the minimum wage commission will make him a proposal. The minimum wage in Germany is currently 12 euros per hour.

FDP deputy head Wolfgang Kubicki told the Funke media group that he did not understand Heil’s statements as a demand, but as a prognosis. However, he finds it unfortunate that a federal minister is getting involved publicly on this issue: “It can give the impression that the federal government is undermining the actual purpose of the minimum wage commission, which is to keep political demands out of this debate.”

In view of the high inflation, a dispute about the next minimum wage increase had already flared up last month. Social organizations called for a sharp increase to 14 euros and more, employers warned of “unrealistic heights”. The traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP exceptionally raised the minimum wage by law last year. On October 1, 2022, it had risen from EUR 10.45 to EUR 12. The minimum wage commission with representatives of employers and employees should then propose the next step in the increase. This is to be done by June 30 with effect from January 1, 2024.

The Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) criticized Heil’s statements: “State wage setting instead of collective bargaining policy seems to be the stipulation from the Ministry of Labor,” said BDA chief executive Steffen Kampeter on Sunday. So far, there has always been talk of a one-time intervention. “The coalition leadership must decide whether it will continue to tolerate the Federal Minister of Labor’s continued transgressions.”

The parliamentary director of the Union faction in the Bundestag, Thorsten Frei, called it irritating that the Minister of Labor is now commenting on this. “In any case, political wage determination is wrong,” said the CDU politician of the Funke media group. Linke boss Janine Wissler called on Heil to raise the minimum wage by law to at least 13 euros. “In view of skyrocketing prices, the minister must not wait for the minimum wage commission.” In the Funke media group, she also called for stricter controls as to whether the minimum wage was actually paid.

The chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in the Committee on Labor and Social Affairs, Jens Beeck, spoke out against further political interference. “In Germany, wages are determined by the collective bargaining partners. This also applies to the minimum wage.” Representatives of employees and employers in the Minimum Wage Commission took care of fair competitive conditions, appropriate protection of employees and job security. Heil also wants to introduce a law by the summer, according to which federal orders may only be awarded to companies that adhere to collective agreements. “If we as a state spend tax money, then entrepreneurs who don’t pay their people properly should no longer be allowed to benefit from it.” The SPD, Greens and FDP had already agreed this in their coalition agreement in order to strengthen collective bargaining. By June, he and Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) will present a draft law that stipulates adherence to collective bargaining agreements in the federal government, said Heil.


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