Europe

Germany approves 4 percent rise in national minimum wage

Germany's national minimum wage is to rise by 4 percent in January, the first increase in the base pay level that was introduced at the insistence of Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-left coalition partners.

Merkel's Cabinet approved Wednesday lifting the minimum wage to 8.84 euros ($9.62) per hour effective Jan. 1. It's stood at 8.50 euros since it was introduced in January 2015.

The increase was recommended by a committee that will review the minimum wage every two years. It considers, among other factors, the results of industrial pay negotiations.

Germany was long one of few major Western industrial nations with no government-mandated national minimum wage. Merkel's conservatives opposed it but the center-left Social Democrats insisted on it as part of the price for entering her government after a 2013 election.