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Care workers reach long-awaited minimum wage deal

DDP/DPA/The Local · 25 Mar 2010, 13:56

Published: 25 Mar 2010 13:56 GMT+01:00

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The agreement between employers – such as nursing homes and community care providers – and workers, means that from July, caregivers in western parts of the country will receive at least €8.50 per hour while those in the former east, where living costs remain lower, will get at least €7.50 an hour.

It will cover nursing home staff and people who provide home-based care to the sick or elderly, who total about 800,000 workers in Germany.

After six months of consultations, the care commission of the Federal Labour Ministry agreed on the minimum wage, based on a compromise between workers and employers, though this must still be approved by the federal cabinet.

Federal Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the deal and vowed a quick introduction of the agreement.

“I will now forge an agreement in the government,” she said.

She was confident the junior coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), would back the plan, even though the party is generally hostile towards minimum wages. She had spoken with Health Minister Philipp Rösler, who is from the FDP, and they had agreed on the need for “good quality care,” she said.

“It is important to set positive standards,” she said.

Germany is expected to need tens of thousands of extra care-givers in coming years as the population ages.

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BPA president Bernd Meurer described the agreement as “a sign of reason on entry-level wages for unskilled workers in the care sector.”

Public workers' union Verdi described the agreement as “long overdue” to protect workers against “wage dumping,” whereby companies slash their prices to undercut competitors – and then maintain profits by cutting their workers’ wages.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

21:08 March 25, 2010 by biker hotel harz
And about fcuking time too!!!!!! I'm currently in the UK looking after my dad who is terminally ill and my mother who has Altzeimer. It is a massive strain on my family and without the carers who come in 4 times a day to look after them, I think I would be ill too!!!! My sister has been taking the strain and she looks completely done in. Good on the German government for getting this sorted at last!!!!!
21:47 March 25, 2010 by wxman
Shouldn't we take care of our old folks in dignity?
22:23 March 25, 2010 by Dlocal
right Wxman,

I agree old folks do need to be well taken care off and with due respect not as a burden . Similarly all those who take care of the old people should be treated well and therefore paid well. Its a pain to see this so called developed society where the unusually high obligatory-insurance is in the end used to grow and show profits rather than to ensure a decent treatment to the needy!
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