New provisions

On 1 January 2015 a nationwide minimum wage of EUR 8.50 per hour came into force in Germany. The new law applies to all em¬ployees who work in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is irrelevant whether the employer is based inside or outside Germany.

A violation of the obligation to pay the minimum wage in a timely manner may incur a fine of up to EUR 500,000.

Impact on Polish employers

The minimum wage impacts foreign, mostly Polish employers, as it applies to all truck drivers who cross Germany. As a result, truck drivers are entitled to EUR 8.50 per hour for time spent in German territory even if they cross Germany on their way to other countries.

Suspended enforceability

After Polish transport companies and the Polish government raised objections, Germany has suspended the new law in terms of transit employees. Countries are waiting for the European Commission to rule on the compliance of the German rules with EU law. According to the Polish government, the national minimum wage applies only to posted employees, and truck drivers are not such employees under Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers.

The suspension does not apply to cabotage and other modes of transport.