Minimum wage on the up
The minimum wage will go up for contract and temporary workers. In western Germany, the wage goes up to €9.47 (an increase of 2.8 percent), while in eastern Germany it will increase to €9.27 (an increase of 4 percent).
Higher prescription costs
Higher copayments for certain prescribed medicines will be required, with up to a €10 charge per medicine, reported the Deutscher Apothekerverband. The list of prescriptions falling under the new law include the painkillers Fentanyl, Morphine and Oxycontin, anti-inflammatory drugs, blood thinners and medicines with the antibody Infliximab, which fight against tumors.
Good news for young entrepreneurs
There is more venture capital available starting in April for German start-ups thanks to the European Recovery Programme (ERP) fund. Start-ups can apply for capital from the fund, which has a total of €790 million available, or more than half of the previous amount.
Interested parties can make an application with the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau.
New car emergency system
All new cars which are put on the market after April 1st are legally required to have an emergency call system, called an eCall. In the event of a serious crash, the technology will automatically alert the authorities, giving them the time of the incident, location of the car and number of occupants in the vehicle.
Owners of older cars aren’t obliged to kit out their vehicles with the eCall system, but they can do so if they want to.
Melting lead in order to tell fortunes on New Year's Eve. Credit: DPA
Dropped like a lead balloon
An EU-wide act bans all products which contain a proportion of lead higher than 0.3 percent. In December, this will put a definitive damper on the New Year’s Eve tradition of Bleigießen (lead pouring), a German tradition to tell fortunes based on the shapes that form when molten lead falls into cold water.
The reason for the ban lies in the health dangers that, when exposed to heat, the substance can turn into lead oxide, which when inhaled has damaging effects on the nervous system, brain, liver and kidneys.
From April 11th onwards chips, coffee, bread and Muesli will have to contain less of a chemical called acrylamide, which has possible links to cancer. That means that chips will have to contain less starch and potatoes will have to be soaked before they are fried.
A possible downside is that your fries will be less crispy from now on.