Germany's Parliament Approves National Minimum WageWorld | July 3, 2014, Thursday // 15:35| views
Germany's lower house of Parliament, the Bundestag. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Lawmakers at the German Parliament, the Bundestag, have backed the establishment of a minimum wage level in the country.
A fixed national threshold of EUR 8.50 per hour is due to be fully in force from 2017, with partial introduction as early as January 1, 2015, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.
Approved by a huge majority of 535 to 5 (61 abstained), minimum wage was a product of talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which forged a broad coalition after general elections last autumn.
In April the draft text was given green light by the German government.
So far Germany has been among only seven of 28 EU member states without a minimum wage threshold.
The idea has divided opinions in the country, with businesses fearing it might hamper employment and competitiveness.
Minors, interns and trainees are not included in the new legislation. No minimum wage level is set for the first six months at work of those who have long been unemployed.
The bill is yet to be voted at Germany's upper house, the Bundesrat, which represents regional parliaments.