The number of investigations into minimum wage violations in Germany increased last year, despite fewer inspections, according to the Finance Ministry.
In 2023, the customs' Financial Control of Undeclared Work initiated 7,249 investigations into violations of the Minimum Wage Act, about 1,400 more than the previous year.
The ministry said customs checked 42,631 employers last year to see whether they were paying the minimum wage. There were 53,182 checks in 2022.
That is according to an answer from the Finance Ministry to a question from Left Party Bundestag member Victor Perli, which was made available to dpa.
"There is significantly more minimum wage fraud," said Perli.
The Bundestag member created a website where people could report violations, called Minimum Wage Fraud. After the minimum wage icreased to €12 ($12.90) per hour on October 1, 2022, the number of reports on the portal "increased significantly," he said.
Perli called for stricter rules on recording working hours, among other things, so that fraud could be easily proven. He also called for more checks by the Financial Control of Undeclared Labour.
The number of unrecorded cases is significantly higher. The statutory minimum wage increased to €12.41 per hour on January 1, 2024.
The sectors with the most checks were the construction industry, the catering and accommodation industry and the freight and transportation industry. About one in six inspections resulted in proceedings.