international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Germany: The minimum wage of currently EUR 8.84 an hour is applicable for times of on-call duties

As the German Act on Minimum Wage (MiLoG) only came into force on 1 January 2015, there are still numerous uncertainties on how to interpret its provisions.

In the present case before the German Federal Labor Court, the employee, who worked as a paramedic, demanded an additional payment in the amount of the minimum wage for each hour he served on-call duty. During the times of on-call duty, the employee had to stay in a location determined by the employer and had to be ready to take up work if requested. The German Federal Labor Court has ruled that employees are entitled to payment of the minimum wage for such times of on-call duties.

The court argued that as the employee is obliged to hold himself in readiness in a place determined by the employer, he cannot freely dispose of his time during the on-call duty. Therefore, such times of on-call duty fall under the employer’s obligation to pay remuneration.

The MiLoG provides for an undiminished claim to minimum wage for every working hour. Employees are entitled to the minimum wage regardless of whether they are called to actual work during the on-call duty or not as the MiLoG does not distinguish between the degrees of the actual utilization of the employee. However, in case the remuneration paid to the employee excluding the times of on call-duty still exceeds the minimum wage of currently EUR 8.84 per hour also when taking into account the hours of on-call duty, the employee cannot claim any additional payment, as the claim to minimum wage was already fulfilled.