International Law at Work — February 2014: looking forward... legislative initiatives of the new German government

In September 2013, a new parliament was elected in Germany with the two biggest parties in Germany (CDU and SPD) achieving a majority. After cumbersome negotiations surrounding a partnership in government, a coalition treaty was signed by SPD and CDU on 16 December 2013 and the ‘Great Coalition’ was established.  This article sets out some of the employment-related enterprises of the Great Coalition as set out in the coalition treaty.

At present, statutory minimum wages exist only in a few industries. One of the main employment-related objectives of the Great Coalition is to introduce a consistent statutory minimum wage that applies to every economic industry in Germany, amounting to $8.50 (£7.00) gross per hour. The statutory minimum wage obligation will apply from 1 January 2015. Only a few exceptions to that rule will be introduced, i.e. deviating minimum wages in collective bargaining agreements may prevail until 31 December 2016.

Although the Great Coalition announced its intention to strengthen the autonomy of collective bargaining, the introduction of the statutory minimum wage in fact negatively affects this autonomy as it was previously up to the collective parties to decide upon reasonable wages…

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