Förderprogramm "Integration durch Qualifizierung IQ"

FAQ – Minimum wage

What is the statutory minimum wage?

The statutory minimum wage is defined by law and is the lowest wage that an employer is allowed to pay you. Your wage must not be below the limit of this statutory minimum wage.

Statutory minimum wage is currently: 12,41 Euros (gross/hour)

Exceptions to minimum wage

There are few exceptions to minimum wage. These people can earn less than the minimum wage:

  • People in vocational training
  • Adolescents under the age of 18 who have not completed vocational training
  • People who are taking part in a measure offered by the job centre or the employment agency (e.g. an introductory qualification)
  • People doing voluntary service
  • The self-employed
  • People doing a compulsory internship
  • People doing a voluntary internship for professional orientation lasting a maximum of three months

Please note: the statutory minimum wage and industry-specific minimum wages also apply to migrants/refugees working in Germany.


Industry-specific minimum wages

There are some sectors or industries in which a higher minimum wage applies than the statutory minimum wage. Industry-specific minimum wages are determined by generally binding collective agreements. This industry-specific minimum wage applies to everyone working in these sectors.

Please note: there are no exceptions to industry-specific minimum wages, as there are to the statutory minimum wage. Industry-specific minimum wages must always be paid to all employees in a particular sector.


Do you get paid minimum wage during your internship?

The general rule is: if a voluntary internship lasts longer than 3 months, the statutory minimum wage must be paid. You will then be paid the minimum wage from the first day of your internship. A compulsory internship (e.g. for a degree programme) does not have to be paid at the statutory minimum wage. No matter how long it lasts.

Please note: industry-specific minimum wages also apply to internships! If you are doing an internship in a sector for which an industry-specific minimum wage applies, you will be paid this.


Here you can get help if you are not being paid the minimum wage or the industry-specific minimum wage:

If the statutory minimum wage or an industry-specific minimum wage from a generally binding collective agreement is not being paid, you can defend yourself against this. You can sue for your rights in court. Trade unions, for example, have their own legal defence with lawyers. They will help you if you are a member of the trade union. It is possible to report the employer to customs. This can mean a heavy fine for the employer. However, customs will not help you to get your wages. There is a time limit in the law of 3 years for claiming the statutory minimum wage in court.

In the case of industry-specific minimum wages, the deadline for asserting claims is set out in the generally binding collective agreements. It is set at a minimum of 6 months (Section 9 sentence 3 of the Act on Mandatory Working Conditions for Workers Posted Across Borders and for Workers Regularly Employed in Germany – AEntG).

Please note: if you are unsure whether you have been paid correctly, contact your Fair Integration advice centre! You should also seek advice beforehand in case you want to go to court.

You should always write down your working hours, because: If fewer hours are paid than you actually worked, this can lead to a breach of the statutory minimum wage. It is therefore important that you always write down the hours you work. Your documentation of the hours helps you to prove how many hours you worked and then claim the correct wage.