- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 3, 2014

Germany is about to approve the nation’s first-ever minimum wage law — and converted from euros to dollars, it comes out to $11.61 per hour.

The per-hour level was settled up after weeks of somewhat rancorous negotiations between Chancellor Angela Merkel and members of the Social Democrats’ party, the Cyprus Mail reported. Parliament still has to approve, but several businesses have already asked for exemptions.

And that has unions howling, the Cyprus Mail reported.

“With the high number of exceptions, the coalition has brutally amputated the minimum wage,” Frank Beirske, the head of the Ver di labour union, said in the Cyprus Mail.

Some businesses have been granted outright exemption from the pay standard, while others have been given a two-year delay to give them time to adjust to the new level.

“The minimum wage was long due,” said Carsten Brzeski, a chief economist at ING, the Cyprus Mail reported. “In the short term, the minimum wage will further stimulate the economy but in the long run, it could become a problem for international competitiveness.”

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