June 21, 2024

The German minimum wage is the second highest in Europe

The statutory minimum wage in Germany is the second highest in Europe. At the beginning of 2024, it will increase from 12 euros to 12.41 euros.

Germany’s statutory minimum wage is set to rise from 12 to 12.41 euros at the start of 2024. The increase is controversial because, at 3.4 percent, it is less than the rate of inflation.

Within Europe, Germany’s minimum wage is the second highest. Only in Luxembourg does a higher minimum wage apply.

In this article you will find the complete ranking as well as countries that do not have a legal minimum wage.

A heated debate has erupted over the legal minimum wage in Germany. After a sharp increase last year, the total minimum wage is currently twelve euros per hour worked. At the beginning of 2024, it is expected to increase to 12.41 EUR and a year later to 12.82 EUR. The next increase is 3.4 percent, which is well below the rate of inflation. Therefore, the trade unions in the relevant committee voted against the recommendation. They are calling for another big increase in the statutory minimum wage, to 13.50 or 14 euros.

The comparison shows that the statutory minimum wage in Germany is high in international comparison. In Europe, only Luxembourg has a higher minimum wage. The numbers show it Federal Statistical Office. For a better comparison, the hourly minimum wage is not shown in the following table, but as a gross monthly wage for full-time work.

The minimum wage of €12 in Germany corresponds to a gross monthly income of €1,987 for full-time work. This brings the minimum wage to 53 percent of the median earnings of all full-time workers (median). There are efforts in the European Union to raise the national minimum wage to 60 percent of average income.

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The legal minimum wage in Europe

nation monthly wages
full time
Luxembourg 2387 euros
Germany 1,987 euros
Belgium 1955 euros
Holland 1934 euros
Ireland 1910 euros
France 1709 euros
Slovenia 1203 euros
Spain 1167 euros
Cyprus 940 euros
Portugal 887 euros
Lithuania 840 euros
Malta 835 euros
Greece 832 euros
Poland 746 euros
Estonia 725 euros
Czech Republic 717 euros
Croatia 700 euros
Slovakia 700 euros
Latvia 620 euros
Romania 606 euros
Hungary 579 euros
Bulgaria 399 euros
Source: Federal Statistical Office

The minimum wage is higher only in tiny Luxembourg at €2,387. In EU countries, the minimum wage increased compared to the previous year. In Germany, the minimum wage is 22% higher than it was a year ago. There is strong growth in Eastern European countries, which is sustained by comparison with the European Union.

Not all European countries have a legal minimum wage. Five EU member states do not have a minimum wage: Denmark, Italy, Austria, Finland and Sweden. Also in Norway and Great Britain, the minimum wage is not regulated by law. The following map shows this.

The minimum wage has risen in Germany

In Germany, there has been a statutory minimum wage since 2015. It was introduced to protect employees from abuse in addition to the collectively agreed minimum wage. Initially, the minimum wage was €8.50. In the past eight years, it has increased by 41 percent. This graph shows the evolution of the statutory minimum wage from 2015 to the planned increases by 2025.

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