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France

French minimum wage increases once more

France's Socialist government has announced it's raising the country's minimum wage for the second time in seven months. The measure is to boost consumer spending despite Paris' austerity course.

The French government said on Monday the cross-sector general minimum wage in the country would be increased by 0.3 percent as of January 1, 2013.

It announced per-hour wages would climb to 9.43 euros ($12.40), marking a 0.3-percent rise after a bigger 2-percent hike in June of this year.

Paris said some 2.6 million workers would stand to profit by the change. It explained that the monthly gross pay of employees working a normal 35-hour week at minimum wage would be around 1,430 euros, up from roughly 1,398 euros at the beginning of 2012.

Germany lagging behind

Economists said the move could help boost sluggish consumer spending in France, but added that high unemployment would prevent a bigger impact.

France is viewed as one of the pioneers of minimum wage legislation. A precursor of the current modern system went into effect in the country as early as 1950.

In Germany, a general minimum wage is still the subject of fiery political debates among mainstream parties. So far, there are only minimum wage regulations affecting individual sectors of the economy.

hg/hc (dpa, AFP)