On October 1, the minimum wage in the cleaning sector was increased to 13 euros an hour. This was in response to the Bundestag resolution dated June 3, 2022, regarding increasing the statutory minimum wage to 12 euros/hour from October 2022. Until then, the minimum wage in Germany had been 10.45 euros since July 1, 2022. The universally applicable minimum wage for commercial cleaning was 11.55 euros, meaning it was higher than the statutory minimum wage.
However, rising wages and the current increases in the prices of materials and energy are presenting cleaning companies with new challenges and they are feeling ever greater cost pressure.
The collectively agreed wage for commercial cleaning
From January 1, 2021, the collectively agreed wage for commercial cleaning was 11.11 euros throughout Germany. The minimum wage in the cleaning sector was therefore around 1.50 euros above the statutory minimum wage.
Whereas different minimum wages previously applied to workers in east and west Germany, these were brought into line with one another for the first time.
IG BAU’s successful collective bargaining
IG BAU (Industriegewerkschaft Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt) is the fifth-largest individual trade union within the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and is responsible for all branches of the construction industry and agriculture. It champions better labor and living conditions in, among other areas, the cleaning sector.
On June 2, 2022, the trade union negotiated a two-stage increase in collectively agreed wages by means of collective bargaining with the Federal Guild Association of the Cleaning Trade (BIV). Increases in the minimum wage for commercial cleaning were negotiated both for wage group 1 and 6 in the next few years:
- Wage group 1 encompasses interior and routine cleaning
- Wage group 6 encompasses glass and facade cleaning
|Wage group 1/entry-level wage
Wage group 6
|Since January 2022
|Since October 2022
|From January 2024
As such, based on the new collective bargaining agreement, the hourly wage for commercial cleaning has been 8 percent higher than the statutory minimum wage since October 2022.
Apprenticeship wages will likewise be amended in two stages. In 2024, apprenticeship compensation will total 900, 1,035, or 1,200 euros depending on the apprenticeship year.
The upshot of the collective bargaining—some 700,000 workers in the cleaning trade will now receive more money.
Reasons for the new collective bargaining agreements in 2022
Improved conditions for workers are not the only reason for the trade union engaging in negotiations once again. Another key aspect is recruitment for you as a commercial cleaning company.
After all, the sector had to respond to the increase in the statutory minimum wage as decided by the Bundestag. Salaries above the statutory minimum wage are an important way of combating staff shortages in the cleaning sector. At the same time, they prevent workers from leaving the cleaning service providers.
The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated just how important and demanding the work of cleaning staff is. The idea behind increasing the collectively agreed wage is for the sector to remain attractive to skilled workers.
Rising costs and building cleaning material shortages
Wages account for around 85 percent of commercial cleaning costs—the highest figure in the service sector. Labor and wage-related costs therefore play a significant part in cleaning companies’ pricing.
But although the margin in relation to the statutory minimum wage offers the sector many advantages (like employment appreciation, image, and recruitment), it does also present the individual businesses with additional challenges. After all, in this case rising wages also mean greater costs for the service companies.
And neither do increasing material, commodity, and energy prices go unnoticed by the cleaning companies. What’s more, logistics and delivery problems result in material supply shortages.
Rising costs on many fronts
With rising wages and the current increases in the prices of materials and energy, it is also inevitable that cleaning service providers will increase the prices they charge their customers in 2022. Nevertheless, these customers, too, are budgeting more and more tightly—while still expecting the same quality of work..
This is just one of the reasons why many businesses in the cleaning sector are on the lookout for savings potential in order to offset rising payroll costs and to remain competitive.
Conclusion: increasing profitability in spite of rising costs
While increasing the minimum wage in the commercial cleaning sector does result in a number of advantages for the workers and businesses, in combination with the current price developments in the commodity and energy markets, the wage increase is leading to even greater cost pressure for cleaning companies. These are therefore obviously looking for opportunities to generate profits in the future, too..
Digitization in commercial cleaning can help make efficient use of staff and boost profitability. Our cobots can be perfectly incorporated into your cleaning team and can assist your current staff while also improving labor conditions. Additionally, staff shortages can be offset with the efficient cobots.