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Germany's first minimum wage - 8.50 Eur

Finally, a minimum wage for GermanyGermany's first ever legislation for a minimum wage has been set by Chancellor Angela Merkel at 8.50 euros an hour (£7; $11.75).  The law will come into effect on Jan 1st, 2015. Currently, Germany is one of only seven countries in the EU without a minimum wage level. The change came about due to the power-sharing deal with the Social Democrats (SPD).

The SPD was in favour of the move, but the conservative CDU and CSU parties had been less eager to adopt the policy. The Bundestag is expected to debate the proposal in the summer. It will then move to the upper house for approval in September.

The SPD's labour market policy spokesperson, Katja Mast, commented: "Labour has won its dignity back with a fair payment of 8.50 euros, whether in the East or West and with no industry exceptions." However, the wage does not cover minors, interns, trainees or long-term unemployed people for their first six months at work. Additionally, employers, such as those using temporary or seasonal workers, will have two years to phase in the new minimum wage. For the rest of Germany's employers, the regulations will come into effect on 1 January 2015 and the wage will be reviewed annually from 1 January 2018.

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