Germany: Industrial relations profile
|Index | << Prev | Next >>|
Pay and working time developments
There is no national statutory minimum wage in place. For the procedures for instituting a minimum wage in certain circumstances see above.
The Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland, destatis) publishes data on pay developments. In 2011, annual gross wages rose by 3%. This marks a distinct shift from 2010, when the increase only amounted to 0.4% (2009: 2.5%).
As the WSI Annual Collective Bargaining Report 2011 shows, collectively agreed wages rose by 2% in 2011 in comparison to the previous year. In 2010, 2009 and 2008, collectively agreed pay rose by 1.8%, 2.6% and 2.9% respectively – clearly showing the negative impact of the global economic and financial crisis.
There is widespread debate on the gender pay gap. Official statistical data, such as that compiled by destatis, indicates that the gender pay gap was 23% in 2011. However, destatis does not control for some of the important variables which can explain the gap.
The Cologne Institute for Economic Research (Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln, IW Köln) has analysed the gender pay gap and factors which may contribute to it. Using 2008 data from the Socio-Economic Panel (Sozioökonomisches Panel, SOEP), the IW study shows that factors other than gender contribute to the gap, such as level of education, place of residence, age, job tenure, work experience, autonomy of the employee at the workplace, size of the company and chosen sector, experience in working part-time and periods of unemployment. Taking these factors into consideration, the gender pay gap diminishes to 12.9%. It is noteworthy that long breaks from the workplace have a strong effect on women’s wages: for mothers who return to work within 1.5 years, the pay gap sinks to only 4% (DE1107039I).
Statutory working time is regulated by the Working Time Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz, ArbZG). It stipulates that employees must not work longer than 8 hours a day. However, daily working time can be prolonged to 10 hours if an average of 8 hours per day over 6 months (or 24 weeks) is not exceeded.
Working time as an issue in collective bargaining
As in previous years, collectively agreed weekly workings hours averaged 37.5 hours in western Germany and 38.8 hours in eastern Germany in 2011. In total, agreed weekly working hours rested at 37.7 hours from 2009–2011 (37.6 hours in 2008).
As shown above, however, collective agreements concluded or prolonged in 2011 also provide for partial retirement schemes, working time corridors or working time accounts. The social partners also have the possibility to deviate from the collectively agreed working time under certain circumstances (e.g. by using opening clauses) in 2010.
Actual weekly working hours
Actual weekly working hours in Germany averaged 40.5 hours in Germany in 2010 (2009: 40.1 hours), as the LFS data shows (TN1106010S). Longer hours were only worked in Luxembourg (40.8 hours) and Romania (41.3 hours) in 2010.
|Index | << Prev | Next >>|