Berlin, December 8, 2022 - Labor market expert Christiane Schönefeld is to become the new chairwoman of the independent Minimum Wage Commission. The leading organizations of employers and employees, the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA) and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), have unanimously agreed on this joint proposal. The German government still has to approve the proposal in order to officially appoint the new chair.
The social partners would like to express their gratitude to Jan Zilius, who has chaired the Minimum Wage Commission since 2015 and is now stepping down at his own request. Since the introduction of the statutory minimum wage and the establishment of the Minimum Wage Commission, Jan Zilius has always acted as a mediator and balancer to ensure that the Commission can fulfill its statutory mandate to further develop the minimum wage.
Christiane Schönefeld, 65, is a lawyer and has previously held various management positions at the Federal Employment Agency (BA). She was initially Director of the Duisburg Employment Office, Vice President of the North Rhine-Westphalia Regional Employment Office from 1999 to 2004, and Chairwoman of the Management Board of the North Rhine-Westphalia Regional Office of the BA from 2004 to 2019. From 2019 until the end of September 2022, she was a member of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency. She was also a member of the "Growth, Structural Change and Employment" commission set up by the German government (the so-called "Coal Commission").
The independent Minimum Wage Commission is newly appointed every five years. In addition to the chairperson, it consists of six permanent members with voting rights, three of whom belong to employers' associations and trade unions. In addition, the commission includes two advisory members from the academic community. Every two years, the commission submits a proposal to the federal government for adjusting the statutory minimum wage. In doing so, it is guided by macroeconomic developments as well as subsequent wage developments and assesses how the minimum wage can ensure adequate protection for employees, safeguard employment and create fair competitive conditions. After the German government raised the minimum wage to 12 euros through the Minimum Wage Increase Act, the Minimum Wage Commission is to discuss the next adjustment in the summer of 2023, which will then apply as of January 2024.