22. Jun 15

Minimum wage: Principal employer also liable for subcontractors

The introduction of the national minimum wage does not only apply to direct employment relationships; general contractors are also liable for their subcontractors.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London - www.grprainer.com/en conclude: The national minimum wage has been in force in Germany since the beginning of the year. Apart from a few exceptions, companies must pay their employees the minimum wage of 8.50 EUR per hour. The regulations go further: if a company engages a subcontractor, it is also responsible for making sure that the subcontractor pays the minimum wage.

The so-called general contractor effectively assumes the role of a guarantor when it comes to enforcing the minimum wage. It also bears responsibility for ensuring that the subcontractor pays the statutory minimum wage to its employees. If this is not the case, it is the principal employer that is liable. It is obligated to carefully inspect potential subcontractors during the selection process. Moreover, the burden of proof rests with the principal employer to demonstrate that it has satisfied its duty of care in the case of infringements.

Thus, should a subcontractor violate the regulations regarding payment of the minimum wage, it is important for the principal employer to be able to prove that it has not breached its duty of care. To this end, the selection and selection criteria ought to be carefully documented and the contracts with the subcontractors should, of course, also be drawn up accordingly. A lawyer competent in the field of labour law can be consulted for the drafting of contracts. He will also be able to represent the company’s interests in the event of a dispute.

The statutory minimum wage has to be paid to all employees. It is irrelevant whether a job is full-time, part-time or a so-called mini-job. Having said that, there are exceptions: apprentices, voluntary workers and self-employed persons. These groups do not have a right to be paid the minimum wage. Similarly, those below the age of 18 who have not completed any vocational training also represent an exception.

Minimum wage legislation has resulted in employers being faced with new obligations and there are still uncertainties. Lawyers versed in labour law can provide you with further assistance if you have questions concerning the minimum wage and other matters relating to labour law.

For more informations: http://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/employment-law.html

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