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Everything that changes in Germany in October 2018

From better workers' rights to safer children's toys, there are a lot of changes in store as September becomes October on Monday.

Everything that changes in Germany in October 2018
Time is also one of the changes in October. Photo: DPA

Time’s a’changing

Whether or not you’re eager to welcome winter, the clocks will make the change when they officially jump from summer to winter time. On October 28th at 3 a.m., clocks in Germany will be reset by one hour. The clock then jumps from 2:59 to 2:00. Be prepared for more darkness – or, for a more optimistic outlook, more gemütlich time spent inside with a hot chocolate and your favourite book.

Maximum limit on temporary work

In April of last year, the Law on Temporary Employment was reformed, and now states that temporary workers may not log shifts for the same employer for more than 18 consecutive months. This period ends for the first time on September 30th.

Companies which employ temporary workers for longer than the permitted one and a half years – going against the legal requirements in doing so – must either hire the workers or be smacked with a high fine. There are exceptions only for companies that have laid down differing regulations from the outset in a collective agreement or a workers’ agreement. 

Breaking (down) the bank

Deutsche Bank's Headquarters in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Most of us have been left confused, or mislead, by unclear banking or finance companies, wondering what how to decipher dull and wordy language. That should hopefully change from October 31st onwards, when financial institutions must provide uniform and easily understandable information on the costs of their account services. Consumers in EU member states will also receive free access to at least one certified comparison website.

Insuring more transparency 

Luckily, customers will also receive more clarity on insurance products from October 1st, after which insurers will have to comply with stricter rules on insurance distribution (the so-called IDD Directive). More detailed information is required in the annual life insurance notifications that insurance companies send out. A clear distinction must be made between insurance brokerage on a commission basis, and independent fee-based advice.

Commission fees will furthermore be credited to the customer's insurance account. In the past years complaints have piled up that consumers were left with large costs because of bad consultation practices involved with the selling of insurance.

No more barriers (or hedges) for gardeners

By now, there are a lot of hefty hedges in Germany. Photo: DPA

Are you a hobby gardener, eager to trim your overgrown hedges? Starting on the October 1st, you can safely bring out your shears again. In the period from March 1st to September 30th, German law forbids hacking away at hedges. The justification? The habitat of birds and other animals should be protected, and violators of the of this law will be punished with large fines.

Higher requirements for toy safety

Starting on October 28th, the EU is setting stricter requirements for toy safety, including how much lead your children’s play things can contain.  The lead content of chalk, for example, will be reduced from previously a 13.5 milligrams to 2 milligrams per kilo of lead. For liquid material, only 0.5 instead of 3.4 milligrams per kilo of lead and for coated materials, such as building bricks, only 23 instead of 160 milligrams per kilo of lead are allowed.

More airport rights for younger air travellers

At the Frankfurt Airport, young people can now also use the automatic border control system for travel outside the Schengen area as long as they hold a passport from the EU, European Economic Area or Switzerland.

The minimum age has already been reduced to 16 in mid-July, according to Federal Police. But now, travellers aged 14 and older can also enter and leave the country with “EasyPass” and automatic face recognition.

In contrast to adults, the control door also won’t open automatically for young people, but must be cleared by the federal police. This would allow young runaways and cases of child abduction to be discovered. The new system was set up largely to accelerate the the control processes for border police.

Driving a change

Photo: DPA

Looking to get your German driver’s license? Every year in April and October, the list of questions for a so-called theoretical driving test, which you will have to pass before preparing for a behind-the-wheels test, changes. This means that from October 1st, new tasks will be assigned to novice drivers; a total of 60 questions have been updated. Among them are 28 completely new tasks, which have been added to the catalogue.

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about German driving licenses

Public tenders made easier

Good news for all building contractors or business suppliers: From October onwards, electronic processing of procurement procedures for public tenders for Europe-wide awards is obligatory. As a result, offers that are not submitted electronically will no longer be accepted, or will no longer be taken into consideration, when placing the order. This benefits small businesses in particular, as they can also easily apply for contracts from the federal, state and local governments.


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