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Everything that changes in Germany in July 2018

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Everything that changes in Germany in July 2018
The offices of ING-DiBa Bank in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA
11:46 CEST+02:00
From minimum ATM withdrawal amounts to more transparency about sperm donors, a lot is changing in Germany this month.

Minimum ATM withdrawal amount

At the beginning of the year, online banks such as Comdirekt and Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB) introduced a minimum amount for cash withdrawals. On July 1st, ING-DiBa - Germany's third-largest bank with nine million customers - decided to get on board as well. Now their customers have to take out a minimum of €50, whether with a Visa or Girocard. Yet in the future, customers with less than 50 euros in their account might be able to withdraw smaller amounts of money, the bank has said.

The pension increases by more than three percent

The salaries of around 21 million retirees in Germany are rising noticeably. Western Germany is seeing an spike of 3.22 percent, whereas in eastern Germany the increase will be 3.37 percent. That means that a monthly pension of €1,000 euros, based only on contributions in western Germany, will be increased by €32.20, and a pension based only on eastern German contributions, will go up by €33.70. It’s a small sign of progress that the east is catching up, as pension values in eastern Germany have thus far reached 95.8 percent of the western level.

Allowances for widow's and widower's pensions rise

From the start of this month, the income limits for widow and widower pensioners have increased. The allowance up to which the person's pension is paid in full without any deductions depends on the place of residence of the pensioner. Starting in July, it will increase from €819 to €845 in western Germany, and from €783 to €810 in eastern Germany. For each pensionable child of the pension recipient, the allowance increases by €179 in the west and €171 in the east.

EU Package Travel Directive gives holidaymakers greater protection

In the past, vacationers on package holiday travel only had a maximum of one month after their trip to report any issues. Yet now this will be possible up until two years afterwards. Organisers of packaged trips must furthermore take out insolvency protection, meaning that travellers can still receive refunds in the event that they go bankrupt.

Travellers can also now cancel their holidays, for any reason, by paying a reasonable fee. Furthermore, should their destination become dangerous due to a war or natural disaster, or if the package price is raised over 8 percent of the original price, they will receive a full refund.

New warning for over-the-counter painkillers

Painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen, which are available without a prescription in the pharmacy, now come complete with a warning. Starting this month, the packaging will read: "In the event of pain or fever, and without medical advice, do not use longer than specified in the leaflet!" This is to avoid side effects such as strokes, stomach bleeding, and liver and kidney damage.

Postage increase for book and goods shipments

For the first time since 2013, consumers in Germany have to pay more for book and goods shipments at Deutsche Post. The price for a book shipment up to 500 grams is increasing by 20 cents to €1.20. Consignments of up to 50 grams will cost €1.30 instead of 90 cents.

No amalgam for pregnant women and children

For pregnant women and children under the age of 15, dentists may only resort to dental fillings made of amalgam in absolute exceptional cases. Instead of using the mercury-containing substance, they must find alternatives, such as plastic fillings. Although amalgam fillings are considered safe, the EU still wants to reduce their use, pointing out that mercury is toxic even in small portions.

New sperm database rules

Starting this month, Germany-wide data from sperm donors and recipients will be gathered together in one database. The goal is to give children of sperm donors the possibility to understand their full biological origins. They should manage to achieve that in their lifetimes, as the data will be deleted after 110 years.

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