General statutory minimum wage

The general statutory minimum wage is the minimum wage level, which may not be undercut. It was introduced to protect workers in Germany from unreasonably low wages.

Good reasons for a general statutory minimum wage:

  • The minimum wage protects workers in low-paying jobs from wage dumping and guarantees appropriate social participation.
  • The minimum wage also contributes to ensuring that businesses do not engage in competition at the expense of workers by agreeing ever lower wages, but that they in fact compete for better products and services.
  • At the same time it ensures greater stability in Germany’s social security systems.

The Minimum Wage Act at a glance

To whom does the general minimum wage apply?

The statutory minimum wage applies to all workers over 18 years of age.

To whom does the general minimum wage not apply?

The following persons are not workers within the meaning of the Minimum Wage Act:

  • Trainees under the Vocational Training Act
  • Volunteers
  • Persons providing voluntary service
  • Participants in an employment promotion programme
  • Home workers under the Home Work Act
  • Self-employed persons
  • Youth under 18 years of age without completed vocational training
  • Long-term unemployed persons during the first six months of re-entering the labour market

Are foreign workers also entitled to the minimum wage?

Yes. The minimum wage also applies to them, if they work in Germany - regardless of whether they are employed by a domestic or a foreign employer.

Detailed information can be found on the website of the Federal Customs organisation: Customs online - Minimum conditions of employment (

Are seasonal workers also entitled to the minimum wage?

The statutory minimum wage also applies to seasonal workers. If employment is limited from the outset to no more than three months or 70 working days per calendar year and if it is not exercised as a professional activity (short-term employment), no contributions have to be paid to the health, long-term care, pension or unemployment insurance. This regulation does not impact the minimum wage level.

Background information

Translated information

The minimum wage (Englisch)


Płaca minimalna (Polnisch)


Salariul minim pe economie (Rumänisch)


минимална работна заплата (Bulgarisch)


Le salaire minimum (Französisch)


Ο Κατώτατος Μισθός (Griechisch)


Il salario minimo (Italienisch)


Asgari ücret (Türkisch)


El salario mínimo (Spanisch)


Мінімальна заробітна плата (Ukrainisch)


A minimálbér (Ungarisch)