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Everything that changes in Germany in August 2020

Everything that changes in Germany in August 2020
A clock in Triberg, Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA
From changes to coronavirus restrictions, travel, tax deadlines and increased funding for training and hard-hit businesses, here's a rundown of what to expect this August if you live in Germany.

Coronavirus aid for hard-hit companies

Small and medium-sized businesses that are particularly affected by the pandemic can apply for bridging aid – but only until the end of August.

The support is part of the German government's economic stimulus package. Fixed operating costs of up to €50,000 per month for June to August are reimbursed.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany's new coronavirus aid

Tax return deadline

Those who do their tax return without a tax consultant (Steuerberater) must have submitted the completed forms for 2019 by July 31st 2020 at the latest.

For many employees, it's worthwhile doing a tax return to get money back from the tax office.

READ ALSO:

Increased funding for training

There's good news for all those who want to boost their professional development.

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The so-called Aufstiegs-BAföG (Upgrading Training Assistance Act) which provides financial support to people undergoing further vocational training, will be increased as of August 1st, 2020.

The federal government has decided on several changes: among other things, participants are set to receive higher grants for the course and examination fees.

Meanwhile, childcare supplement for single parents will increase from €130 to €150 per month and individuals will be able to benefit several times at all three training levels. Previously this was limited to one further training course.

The training assistance provides funding for people aiming for further training qualifications in jobs such as industrial supervisors, early childhood teachers, technicians, commercial specialists, certified business specialists or in one of over 700 comparable professions.

There is no age limit for the funding. For more information check out this government page.

More vocational training allowance for trainees  

Trainees (known as Azubis in German) who are just starting their vocational training can also look forward to more money from August 1st 2020.

Under certain conditions, trainees who no longer live with their parents but in their own apartment are entitled to a vocational training allowance (Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe or BAB).

Archive picture of an Azubis sign in Erfurt, Thuringia. Photo: DPA

The maximum amount for living and housing will increase to €723 per month. The amount went up from €622 to €716 in August 2019.

Corona Working Hours Act set to expire

The Covid-19 Working Time Act has been in force since mid-April. It means that if overtime can not be prevented due to the crisis, the employer is allowed to order longer working hours – up to 12 hours per day, 60 hours per week, until July 31st.

In addition to exceptions to the maximum working hours, the regulation also provided for a reduction in the minimum rest periods to up to nine hours and permitted work on Sundays and public holidays – unless overtime could be prevented in some other way.

But from August the law expires. There can be overtime in exceptional cases, however.

Worldwide travel warning set to expire

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Foreign Office issued a global warning against tourist travel. For countries in the EU and Schengen-associated states (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) as well as the United Kingdom, the warning was lifted on June 15th and replaced with advice.

The travel warning for countries outside the EU – so-called Third Countries – is set to expire on August 31st, unless the government extends it.

Compulsory tests for holidaymakers from risk areas

It's holiday season for many of us. But this year, due to the pandemic, things are very different.

And in future, anyone who goes on holiday to a risk area (a country or region with a high Covid-19 rate) will have to be tested for the virus on their return to Germany.

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn announced that testing would be compulsory for travellers from areas with high case numbers, and that this is expected to come into force in the first week of August. The tests are to be free of charge.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) will determine which regions and countries are considered risk areas.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany's plans for mandatory Covid-19 tests


A test station at Leipzig/Halle airport. Photo: DPA

Events with more participants possible again

The restrictions on public life to contain the coronavirus pandemic are being gradually lifted.

This also applies to celebrations and events involving several people. In August, the restrictions will be relaxed further in many German states – unless of course the situation gets worse.

In Baden-Württemberg events with up to 500 participants will again be allowed from August 1st.

In Saarland, events with up to 500 participants will be allowed outside and up to 250 participants in closed rooms are permitted. From August 24th, the upper limits will be increased to 1,000 and 500 participants respectively.

A little later than some other federal states, Saxony-Anhalt will also allow events with up to 500 participants in closed rooms from August 29th. However, up to 1,000 participants can come together at an open air event already in the eastern state.

Large events in Germany are banned until at least October 31st.

Regular operations to resume at schools and daycare centres (Kitas)

In many German states, schools are expected to return to normal operation after the end of the summer holidays in August after huge disruption in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus crisis.

This is the case in Berlin, for example, where the summer holidays end on August 7th. Other federal states in which school operations will be resumed regularly in August are Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.


Daycare centres will also return to normal operation in August in many states. In Rhineland-Palatinate, for example, daycare centres will resume regular operations on August 1st. Kitas in Saxony-Anhalt are also set to return to normal operation in the coming weeks.

READ ALSO: Can Germany's schools safely reopen?

North-Rhine Westphalia: families to receive two years of free childcare at Kitas

On August 1st, the reform of the Child Education Act (or KiBiz) comes into force in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. This means that two years of care for youngsters will be free of charge, instead of the current one year.

The reform is intended to ease the burden on families with small children. The sibling regulation has also been adapted – in future, parental contributions will only have to be paid once, even if several siblings are being looked after.

Germany is a federal country so the cost of sending children to Kindergarten differs widely depending on where you live.

Changes to Amazon Prime for trainees and students in Germany

Until now, students and trainees could test the membership of Amazon Prime for a whole year free of charge.

However, the online giant is now cutting this advantage in half – from August, the free trial period will be just six months.

However, students and trainees can still secure access free of charge for another year if they secure it by July 29th, before the change comes into force.


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