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Everything that changes in Germany in July 2020

Everything that changes in Germany in July 2020
Clocks in Düsseldorf's Volkspark. Photo: DPA
From higher wages to lower taxes, there's a lot changing in Germany as of Wednesday - and not all of it coronavirus related.

More summer travel options

The worldwide travel warning is being lifted for all EU member states as of Wednesday, although a travel warning remains in place for 130 countries until at least August 31st. 

That excludes, however, a few popular holiday destinations such as Egypt or the Maldives. 

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On Wednesday, travellers from 15 countries – including Australia and Canada – will also be allowed to travel to Germany and the EU again after being put on a “safe list.”

READ ALSO: EU agrees to reopen borders to 15 countries but excludes US from safe travel list

Tenant protection ending

As of July 1st, the temporary special protection against termination of tenancy for tenants (Kündigungsschutz) due to the corona crisis will no longer be valid. 

Berlin graffiti calling for rents to come down. Photo: DPA

For the period from April 1st to June 30th, tenants and leaseholders could not be kicked out for failing to pay rent due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the rent is still due for this period, and interest on arrears may also be incurred. 

However, a dispute has flared up within the grand coalition over the continuation of the Corona protection against dismissal. The left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD) are demanding an extension, whereas Merkel’s centre right CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU are against it.

Protests also flared up around the country in response on Wednesday. 

More value for your euro

As part of an economic rescue package Germany launched, the government is lowering the VAT (value added tax) for half a year from 19 to 16 percent. For everyday items such as groceries, it’s sinking from 7 to 5 percent. 

Here’s a look at how much you can look to save on products in furniture stores, the supermarket or when buying a new car.

READ ALSO: What you should know about Germany's VAT cut

Pensions going up

The approximately 21 million pensioners in Germany will receive noticeably more money starting on July 1st. Due to the annual pension adjustment, pensions will rise by 3.45 percent in western Germany and by 4.20 percent in eastern Germany.

The pensions in the east are thus gradually creeping up to the levels in the west. However, not all pensioners will receive the pension increase on the same date.

Coronavirus cases in pets must also be registered

Current knowledge tells us that it’s rare for certain pets and zoo animals to be infected with coronavirus. But that hasn’t stopped some isolated incidents from being reported around the world.

In order to be able to research the potential connection more thoroughly, there will soon be an obligation to report cases of the virus in animals in Germany.

According to Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner of Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), a regulation on this could be passed in the Bundesrat on July 3rd. 

However, the owners of the approximately 31 million pets in Germany will not be obliged to have their dogs or cats tested. There is no evidence so far that people become infected with the virus from their pets.

Higher wages for nurses and care workers

To better recognise hospital staff for the tremendous effort they have put in over the last months, Germany will be raising the minimum wage for nurses and care workers to €15 an hour. By 2022, that amount is slated to increase to €15.40 per hour.

In addition to Germany’s legal minimum holiday requirement of 20 days per year, care workers are also slated to receive an additional five days of holiday this year, and six days in the coming year. 

More corona testing at slaughterhouses

Following the incidents at Tönnies slaughterhouse, the meat industry in North Rhine-Westphalia will in future have to have employees tested for the coronavirus at least twice a week at their own expense.

The entrance to Tönnies in Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

The new requirement will apply to slaughterhouses, cutting plants and meat-processing companies with more than 100 employees as of July 1st, according to the State Ministry of Labor and Health in Düsseldorf.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about German meat plant outbreak

Germany takes over EU presidency

From Wednesday until the last day of the year, Germany is officially taking over the EU presidency. Of course, one of the main areas of work is already becoming apparent: the coronavirus crisis. 

Germany's Federal Cabinet has prepared a programme for this under the motto “Together. Making Europe strong again”. 

To put words into action, the German government has already submitted a proposal for a massive €750 billion aid package, of which €500 billion are to flow to the EU states as grants and the rest as loans.

Other big areas of focus will be resuming negotiations about Brexit, as the UK will officially leave the EU at the end of the year, climate chains and international affairs, particularly with China. 

READ ALSO: Merkel's legacy at stake as Germany takes EU reins

 


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