Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for minimum wage employees and companies affected by the minimum wage

In this study, various connections between the minimum wage and the Corona pandemic were investigated on the basis of a qualitative research design. Patterns of action by companies and employees are traced and systematically analysed, and the underlying motivations are recorded and contextualised. A total of 114 guided interviews were conducted with employees affected by the minimum wage and companies from six sectors in which the minimum wage plays a major role.
The minimum wage was seen by the employees as an important instrument for securing a sufficient livelihood. However, this is true regardless of the Corona pandemic. Many respondents considered the level of the minimum wage to be too low, both for the current time and for the time before the pandemic. The minimum wage was viewed critically, especially for marginal workers in sectors severely affected by the pandemic (e.g. hospitality, fitness studios, parts of the retail trade), who often lost their jobs and also hardly benefited from state support such as short-time allowance.
Many businesses surveyed saw the statutory minimum wage as neither useful nor a hindrance in coping with the economic consequences of the Corona pandemic. Even those establishments that were rather critical of the minimum wage saw it only in exceptional cases as a major obstacle to business development and the creation of employment in the tense economic situation caused by the Corona pandemic.

Final Report (in German)

In cooperation with:

Commissioned by:

Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Coordination and Information Office for the Minimum Wage)

Project team:

  • Dr. Andreas Koch (Project Leader)
  • Andrea Kirchmann
  • Anastasia Maier
  • Marcel Reiner
  • Tobias Scheu

Contact Person:
Dr. Andreas Koch ( +49 7071 9896 12 // E-Mail )


2020 - 2022