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Significantly higher minimum wage, also for those working in aged care

From 1 October 2022, the statutory minimum loan will increase to EUR 12 gross per hour. The Federal Cabinet adopted the bill prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The increase in the minimum wage will also affect low-paid positions – also called minijobs or EUR 450 jobs. In order for it to still be possible to work ten hours per week at the new minimum wage level, the mini-job threshold is increased to EUR 520 and adjusted smoothly for the future. The Act also includes measures to support employment requiring the payment of social security contributions and prevent mini-jobs being misused as a replacement for regular employment. In order to ensure that employees benefit from the additional work, the maximum threshold for employment in a mini-job will be increased from EUR 1,300 to EUR 1,600 per month. This will bring greater relief to employees with a low wage who are required to pay social security contributions.

In addition, on 5 February 2022, the Care Commission (Pflegekommission) agreed on higher minimum wages for care workers working in aged care: the minimum wage for care workers in Germany will increase in three stages from 1 September 2022. For unskilled nursing staff, the Care Commission recommends an increase in the hourly wage to EUR 14.15 per hour, while for qualified care workers it should increase to EUR 15.25 per hour and nursing specialists can expect an increase to EUR 18.25 per hour. Based on the recommendation of the previous Care Commission, a sliding scale applies to the minimum wage based on the level of qualification. The fifth Care Commission advocated the maintenance of this structure. For employees in the aged care sector, the Care Commission also recommends an entitlement to additional paid leave beyond the statutory leave entitlement. For employees with a 5-day working week in 2022, this additional leave will be seven days, while for 2023 and 2024 it will be nine days.

Around 1.2 million employees work in institutions to which the minimum wage for the care sector applies. The current regulation for the minimum wage in the care sector applies until 30 April 2022 and provides a current minimum wage for unqualified care workers of EUR 12, EUR 12.50 for qualified care workers and EUR 15 for nursing specialists. These minimum wages will increase to EUR 12.55, EUR 13.20, and EUR 15.40 respectively on 1 April 2022. Where the special minimum wage for the care sector does not apply (for example, to employees of private institutions), the general statutory minimum wage of EUR 9.82 per hour applies. In the coalition agreement, the Federal Government agreed to an increase in the general statutory minimum wage to EUR 12 per hour. The planned increases in minimum wages for the care sector based on the recommendations of the Commission are as follows:

For unqualified care workers: From 1 September 2022, the minimum wage will increase to EUR 13.70 and then to EUR 13.90 from 1 May 2023. From 1 December 2023, the minimum wage will be EUR 14.15.

For qualified care workers (care workers with at least one year of training and a corresponding position), the minimum wage of EUR 14.60 will apply from 1 September 2022, increasing to EUR 14.90 on 1 May 2023, and EUR 15.25 on 1 December 2023.

For nursing specialists, the minimum wage will increase to EUR 17.10 on 1 September 2022, and then to EUR 17.65 on 1 May 2023, and 18.25 on 1 December 2023.

The Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs intends to set the new minimum wages for the care sector by way of a regulation based on the recommendations of the Care Commission. This will make both the recommended minimum wages for the care sector and the entitlement to additional leave binding, irrespective of any entitlements to higher wages or numbers of leave days under the employment contract or a collective wage agreement.

(Source: Notice of the German Federal Government of 23 February 2022 and press release of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs)