Everything that changes in Germany in January 2020
From cheaper train tickets to an increase in the minimum wage, these are the changes you need to know about come January 2020.
Higher minimum wage in 2020
The statutory minimum wage for employees will rise from €9.19 to €9.35 at the beginning of the new year.
From 2020, trainees will receive a minimum wage of €515 in the first year. After that it will steadily continue to rise. An increase in the minimum wage in nursing and health care professions is also planned.
According to the government, this should lead to better pay for nursing staff, either through a regional collective agreement or higher minimum wage limits.
Boost for unemployed people
People on unemployment benefits in in Germany will receive slightly more money from January.
The government is increasing provision for those receiving unemployment benefits such as Hartz IV (Arbeitslosengeld II) by 1.88 percent increase.
Those who receive benefits will receive between €5 and €8 extra per month.
Children's allowance and BAföG changes
The Kinderzuschlag (children's allowance), which is intended for parents with low income who live with their children (under 25-year-olds), will rise to €185 per month, plus the maximum income limit will no longer apply.
The government aims to give single parents in particular extra support with the "Strong Family Law" (Starke-Familien-Gesetz). For example, the amount given for school supplies will rise from €100 to €150 per school year.
The BAföG (Germany's Federal Training Assistance Act for students at secondary schools and universities) allowance will also increase from €735 to €861 per month from 2020 – more students will continue to be eligible in a bid to create more equality.
Housing allowance boost
From 2020, more people will be entitled to housing benefit for the first time. This will benefit around 180,000 households across Germany.
The amount paid depends on factors including household size, income and rent and is usually granted for 12 months.
Germany steps up climate protection
No more than 95 grams of CO2/km may be emitted by newly registered cars from the new year. The purchase premium for electric cars has also been extended until 2025.
Flying is also to become less attractive, and the tax on airline tickets is to be increased by €6 to €17 per ticket.
With an increase from the current €332 million to about €665 million in 2020, the federal financial aid provided by the Municipal Transport Financing Act (GVFG) will be increased, in order to further promote, among other things, local public transport.
Cheaper train tickets and tampons
The value-added tax on long-distance rail tickets is to be reduced from 19 to seven percent in favour of the environment.
Hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary towels are also to become cheaper. Products of this kind will also be taxed at the reduced rate.
Replace old stoves
All stoves built between 1984 and 1995 must be replaced or modernized by the end of 2020 due to concerns to the environment.
According to the Federal Environment Agency, the correct use of wood-burning stoves could immediately and significantly reduce the amount of particulate matter in the air. There are currently around eleven million wood-burning stoves in Germany.
Tougher penalties for reckless drivers
Drivers who commit parking offences will be punished more severely from next year. On November 6th 2019, the government passed the new catalogue of fines.
Those who do not let ambulance and rescue teams through, for example after an accident on the Autobahn, will have to pay €320 instead of the previous €200.
Drivers who park on footpaths or cycle paths will be sanctioned with €100 (they are currently hit with €15 and €35 fines).
The three-minute stopping on a protective strip, which has been permitted up to now, will also no longer be permitted.
From next year it will be possible to drive so-called light motorcycles with a car driving licence – but only after extensive training. According to the new regulations, which were passed by the Federal Council shortly before Christmas, it is no longer necessary to take a separate driving test for engines with a capacity of up to 125 cubic centimetres and 15 hp.
However, drivers must be at least 25-years-old and have held a Class B driving licence for five years. After nine 90-minute lessons (four theoretical and five practical), they will then be entitled to drive class A1 light motorcycles in Germany. When the plans for the new regulation became known last summer, experts had expressed concern.
ADAC membership to get pricier
It's bad news for ADAC members: the annual payment for basic members of the automobile club is to rise from €49 to €54.