Competitiveness of a company depends on various factors. Besides the prices or goods, what matters are the costs borne by a company. And lately, such costs increased for companies operating in the transport sector. Why?

Remuneration received by an employee should correspond to the effort they put in their work. That is the theory but the practice often indicates otherwise. As far as the Polish transport companies are concerned, as recently as a dozen or so months ago they could limit the costs generated by offering their drivers a uniform rate for transport of goods across Europe. Today the solution is impossible due to MiLoG and Loi Macron acts. When did they come into force? What do the employers need to keep in mind?

MiLoG in Germany

MiLoG is the German Minimum Wage Act. As per the act’s provisions, professional drivers employed by Polish companies are entitled to receive minimum wage when transporting goods across Germany. The provisions have been applicable for over a year as they came into force on 1 January 2015. How much will a professional driver earn?

A minimum rate for one hour of work of a professional driver crossing Germany when headed to, e.g., the Netherlands, amounts to EUR 8.5. Owners of transport companies who fail to abide by the obligation may be subject to financial penalties. Such penalties are imposed by the employees of the German Customs Office as it is the customs office that bears responsibility for verifying whether professional drivers employed by the Eastern European companies are appropriately remunerated.

Another question besides the minimum remuneration is the fulfillment of specific formal requirements. Companies intending to assign their employee with a task of transporting goods to, e.g., Belgium, are obliged to notify the German Customs Office thereof. Time plays crucial role here as the obligation must be met at the latest prior to entering the territory of Germany.

Loi Macron in France

France decided to introduce solutions similar to the provisions applicable in Germany. The Minimum Wage Act called Loi Macron came into force on 1 July 2016. Based on the provisions thereof, owners of transport companies must remember that they are obliged to pay their drivers at least the minimum remuneration currently applicable in France. However, it concerns solely carriages made across borders and cabotage – excluding transit.

A minimum rate for one hour of work in France amounts to EUR 9.61. Additionally, employees are entitled to receive a seniority bonus. – The employer must remember not only about remuneration but also about completing a number of formalities, i.e., registering a driver at least once every six months and designating a representative in France – a contact person for services in charge of controls. The employer is also responsible for drafting and archiving French-language documentation.

Top-down minimum wage for drivers?

So far, the minimum wage has been introduced not only in Germany and France – Norway also recognized such necessity. The provisions, based on which an employee is entitled to receive NOK 158.32 per hour (plus allowance), came into force on 1 July 2015.

Besides the countries defending the interests of their companies, it is worth mentioning the idea of Italians. Representatives of the country started to speak openly about the need to introduce the minimum wage for all drivers employed within the EU Member States. Such solution would allow the Western European transport sector to compete effectively with cheaper carriers from Eastern Europe. Today, the idea is supported by France and the Netherlands. Will it be implemented? The question is soon to be answered.