Minimum wage is a fact – it has been in force for long in many countries, including Poland. But granting the right to minimum remuneration to mobile employees working in the territory of Germany has raised concerns within the transport sector.

Is MiLOG just the beginning?

State interference consisting in determination of minimum remuneration for work has its supporters as well as opponents. Those who are in favor of the solution’s implementation emphasize that it protects employees against exploitation on the part of employers. The opponents claim that the state should not interfere with a contract signed by persons interested in establishing the employment relationship.

A dispute over minimum remuneration or, more precisely, the fact whether there is any point to it at all, has recently arisen because of Germany. Pursuant to the Minimum Wage Act (MiLoG), starting from 1 January 2015, the right to minimum remuneration was granted to, among others, persons working in the territory thereof.

Are the entrepreneurs the first ones to lose?

Entering into force of MiLoG Act was widely discussed by specialists from the Polish transport sector. Why? Because Germany has been the main trading partner of Poland for many years, which is confirmed by the figures – only from January till November 2015, exports of goods to Germany amounted to PLN 186.6 billion (EUR 44.69 billion).

Experts specialized in the transport market indicated that the implemented solutions will affect the competitiveness of Polish companies. They also pointed to ambiguous provisions allowing for high financial penalties. Today, over a year after the introduction of the Minimum Wage Act in Germany it may be concluded that Polish carriers are performing well and the predictions assuming bankruptcy of many companies turned out to be misguided.

Not only Germany

Germans were the first ones to grant the right to minimum remuneration to professional drivers working for companies seated in Eastern Europe. Other European countries followed their example. Since 1 July 2015 similar solutions have been applied in Norway. Enterprises specialized in international transport and bus owners are among those who need to remember about correct calculation and payment of minimum rate for the time spent passing through the territory of the country.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk concerning the introduction of an obligation to pay minimum remuneration to drivers transporting passengers or goods through France. Despite many doubts, the relevant provisions concerning the matter have been in force since 1 July 2016. The implemented solutions lead to the conclusion that within the next years other Western European countries will decide to introduce similar solutions.