Minimum wage 2024 - current level, law & information

Money, work, minimum wage

The minimum wage marks a milestone in the German working world and stands for efforts to guarantee fair wages and a living wage. But who does the minimum wage actually apply to? What exceptions are there? And what challenges and risks does it entail? In this article, we take a closer look at the minimum wage and its impact on employers.


What is the minimum wage and why does it exist?

The statutory amount that employers must pay their employees per hour worked is known as the minimum wage. It was introduced in Germany on January 1, 2015. Previously, employers and trade unions largely regulated wages and working conditions and laid them down in collective agreements. However, particularly in sectors such as retail, catering and cleaning services, there were no binding wage targets - low wages often made it difficult to earn a living with a full-time job. The minimum wage was intended to close this gap and ensure that employees are paid fairly and receive a living wage.

Before the introduction of the minimum wage, employees with low wages often had little bargaining power vis-à-vis their employers. The minimum wage provides employees with a basis for justifying their wage demands and thus strengthens their position in negotiations. At the same time, it protects them from exploitation by employers. The minimum wage therefore acts as a tool to create a balance between the interests of employers and employees and to promote a fairer and more stable world of work.

Since its introduction in 2015, the minimum wage has risen continuously. The regular adjustment takes into account economic developments and inflation. It currently stands at 12.41 euros per hour.

To whom does the minimum wage apply?

The statutory minimum wage applies in principle to all employees in Germany.

However, there are some exceptions and special regulations to which the minimum wage does not apply:

  • Minors who have not completed vocational training: Special regulations apply to young people under the age of 18. The minimum wage may be lower for them if they have not completed vocational training and their employment is for career guidance purposes. In this case, a training allowance may be paid that is lower than the statutory minimum wage.
  • Long-term unemployed: The long-term unemployed over the age of 25 can be exempt from the minimum wage for the first six months of a new job. This is intended to facilitate their integration into the labor market. After these six months, however, they are entitled to the full minimum wage.
  • Interns: Compulsory internships as part of school or academic training are exempt from the minimum wage. Internships that serve as orientation on the job market and last no longer than three months can also be paid below minimum wage. However, voluntary internships that last longer than three months must be paid at minimum wage.
  • Apprentices: Anyone completing vocational training is not entitled to the minimum wage. For them, the training allowances apply in accordance with the collective agreement or statutory provisions.
  • Self-employed persons: Self-employed persons and freelancers are not in a dependent employment relationship and are therefore not subject to the minimum wage regulation. They agree their remuneration directly with their clients.

Hidden danger: marginally employed workers

Anyone who employs people on a mini-job or midi-job basis must pay particular attention when it comes to the minimum wage. Low-income employees are not only entitled to the minimum wage, they are also subject to a monthly earnings cap that must not be exceeded. With an increased workload, the calculated hourly wage can quickly fall below the minimum wage by mistake. For this reason, employers should establish a time recording system that warns them as soon as the working hours of their marginally employed workers threaten the minimum wage. In the event of an unannounced inspection by customs or social security, employers must be able to show the time records immediately.

The earnings limit for mini-jobbers is currently 538 euros per month. Midi-jobbers may earn between 538.01 euros and a maximum of 2,000 euros. This means that mini-jobbers are currently allowed to work a maximum of 43.35 hours per month:

538 euros (earnings threshold) / 12.41 euros (minimum wage 2024) = 43.35 working hours

What happens in the event of violations?

Violations of the Minimum Wage Act (MiLoG) are punished extremely severely and can have serious consequences for employers. If employers are unable to provide complete documentation of their employees' working hours during inspections, they may face severe fines of up to 30,000 euros in connection with the minimum wage. In addition to the fines, companies may also be required to pay compensation to compensate for the financial losses suffered by the employees affected.

Employers will also be held consistently accountable if they do not comply with the statutory minimum wage. There are drastic penalties of up to 500,000 euros for paying wages below the minimum wage. In addition, managing directors can be held personally liable and face criminal penalties, including a possible prison sentence of up to five years.

These measures underline the seriousness of the minimum wage legislation and are intended to ensure that employers take their obligations towards their employees seriously and comply with the legal minimum standards. It is therefore crucial that companies accurately document their working hours and ensure that all employees receive the minimum wage to which they are entitled.

Digital working time recording with automatic hour account

With Sawayo, you always have an overview of your employees' working hours. Sawayo helps you to recognize in good time when part-time employees are working too much and the minimum wage is at risk. So you're always on the safe side.

The current industry minimum wage

In some sectors, collectively agreed minimum wages are common, some of which are higher than the statutory minimum wage. These are set in collective agreements between employers and trade unions and take into account the specific features and requirements of individual sectors. For example, the regional collective agreement for the main construction industry stipulates the minimum wages for various professions and activities in the construction industry and also regulates working time regulations and other labor law provisions.

The following overview provides an overview of all industry minimum wages in 2024:

Overview of minimum wages 2024 for all sectors

Vocational training and further education

  • Educational staff: €18.58 / hour
  • Pedagogical employees with a Bachelor's degree: €19.15 / hour

Roofing trade

  • Unskilled employees: €13.90 / hour
  • Journeymen and journeywomen: 15,60€ / hour

Electrical trade

  • For all employees: €13.95 / hour

Meat industry

  • For all employees: €12.41 / hour

Building cleaning

  • Interior and maintenance cleaning: €13.50 / hour
  • Glass and façade cleaning: €16.70 / hour

Scaffolding trade

  • For all employees: €13.60 / hour
    from 01.10.24 - €13.95 / hour

Temporary work

  • For all employees: €13.50 / hour

Painting and varnishing

  • Journeymen and journeywomen: 15€ / hour
  • Unskilled employees: 13€ / hour


  • Unskilled employees: €15.50 / hour
    from 01.07.25 - €16.10 / hour
  • Nursing staff with at least 1 year of training: €16.50 / hour
    from 01.07.25 - €17.35 / hour
  • Nursing staff: €19.50 / hour
    from 01.07.25 - €20.50 / hour

Chimney sweep trade

  • For all employees: €14.50 / hour

What employers need to consider

The minimum wage is an important step towards a fair working environment. However, it can present companies with bureaucratic challenges. To meet the legal requirements and avoid potential legal consequences, employers need to bear a few points in mind:

1. make sure you pay the minimum wage!‍

Employers are legally obliged to pay their employees at least the minimum wage per hour - regardless of the type of employment or employment contract. The minimum wage is regularly adjusted to take account of economic developments and inflation. Employers must keep an eye on the current minimum wage rates. Special sectors have their own sectoral minimum wages, which can change more frequently than the statutory minimum wage.

2. record the working hours of your employees!

Time recording is mandatory in Germany - employers must use a system to record working hours. This is particularly relevant for the minimum wage, as this is the only way to prove compliance. Digital time recording systems can warn employers as soon as the minimum wage is threatened by an increased workload.

3. check exceptions!

There are exceptions and special regulations for every law - including the minimum wage. Employers should inform themselves about these exceptions and ensure that they comply with the relevant legal requirements.

4. implement control mechanisms!

Employers should establish effective control mechanisms to ensure that the minimum wage is complied with. This can include checking timesheets, pay slips and contracts as well as training staff.

5 Communicate with your employees!

Employers should inform their employees of their rights in relation to the minimum wage and ensure that they understand how their pay is calculated and what additional benefits they may receive in order to reach the minimum wage.

Challenges and controversies

Despite the potential benefits of the minimum wage, there are still challenges and controversies surrounding its implementation. One of the main criticisms is that the minimum wage is not sufficient to guarantee a living wage everywhere in Germany, particularly in expensive cities or regions. There is also a risk that the minimum wage will exclude certain groups, such as the long-term unemployed or low-skilled workers, from the labor market - employers may be reluctant to hire them if their productivity does not match the minimum wage.


The minimum wage stands for efforts to ensure fairer working conditions and fair wages for employees. With a few exceptions, it applies to all employees in Germany. In 2024, the minimum wage will be 12.41 per hour. Some industries set their own industry minimum wages in collective agreements, which are usually higher than the statutory minimum wage. Employers must be careful, particularly in the case of marginally employed workers, that the calculated hourly wage does not inadvertently fall below the minimum wage. Minimum wage violations are punished extremely severely - fines of up to 500,000 euros and even prison sentences of up to five years can be imposed.

Digital working time recording with automatic hour account

With Sawayo, you always have an overview of your employees' working hours. Sawayo helps you to recognize in good time when part-time employees are working too much and the minimum wage is at risk. So you're always on the safe side.


We would like to point out that the contents of our website (including any legal contributions) are for non-binding informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice in the strict sense. The content of this information cannot and is not intended to replace individual and binding legal advice that addresses your specific situation. In this respect, all information provided is without guarantee of accuracy, completeness and timeliness.

You want to learn more?

Book a call with one of our product experts and learn how Sawayo can make your job easier - or just get started for free.