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MEMBERSHIP EXCLUSIVES

Everything that changes in Germany in September 2020

From bonus payments for parents to greater enforcement of face masks, there's a lot changing in Germany as of Tuesday.

Everything that changes in Germany in September 2020
A man looks at clocks in the Deutschen Uhrenmuseum in Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA

Minimum wage boost for temporary work

Minimum wages for temporary work (Zeitarbeit) are being increased as of Tuesday. In western Germany, the lower limit for hourly wages will rise from €9.96 to €10.15.

In the eastern German states – including Berlin – temporary employees can look forward to €9.88 instead of €9.66. A further increase to €10.10 will take place in October.

End of free coronavirus tests for some travellers

Starting on September 15th, travellers returning from countries which are not risk zones (as designated on a continual basis by the Robert Koch Institute) will no longer be allowed to receive a free coronavirus test.

READ ALSO: Germany to offer free coronavirus tests to returning travellers

Travellers returning to Berlin's Tegel Airport. Photo: DPA

Previously all returning travellers could get a test at the German airport at which they landed.

Those returning from risk zones, however, will still have to undergo a quarantine of five days.

If they then test negative for the coronavirus, they can end the quarantine. If not, they must stay quarantined for 14 days. This is to ensure that they did not pick up the virus on their last days of travel.

More mask inspections on trains

From September onward, employees of German train company Deutsche Bahn will be checking more closely if people are wearing masks on trains and at stations.

So far, Deutsche Bahn, in cooperation with Germany’s Federal Police, has regularly checked compliance in 60 long-distance trains every day, according to their own figures. 

READ ALSO: Deutsche Bahn to increase masks inspections at train stations

Now they want to double the number of inspections and check about 120 trains a day.  The majority of the passengers wore the mouth-nose cover “in an exemplary manner”, according to Deutsche Bahn in a statement. 

Increased lottery ticket costs

Looking to hit the jackpot? It will now cost you slightly more to test your luck: starting on September 23rd, lottery players will have to fork out €1.20 for a ticket in the major German lottery “6aus49“. Until now, a game cost €1.

At the same time, the rules on when a lottery jackpot is paid out for “6aus49” will also change. 

A bonus for kids, and their parents

Parents in Germany will receive the first Kinderbonus payment of €200 in September, out of a total of €300.

Kita children in Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA

The goal of the extra payment, part of a larger conjuncture package recently passed in Germany’s Bundestag, is to boost the economy and increase consumer spending.

READ ALSO: Here's when families will receive Germany's Kinderbonus cash

The money is given out as a true bonus, meaning that those who receive it are free to use it however they see fit.

According to Germany’s Families Ministry, the bonus will be paid out for around 18 million in children in Germany, regardless of the income of their parents.

Children and work, side by side

To make it easier to reconcile family and work, the Federal Government supports the establishment of company kindergartens (Betriebskitas).

For this reason, the “Company childcare support programme” will be relaunched on Tuesday. In the next two years, up to €9 are to be paid out to further their development.

New weapons law

From September, a stricter weapons law will be in place to combat the misuse of weapons and dangerous knives.

In future, according to Germany's Ministry of the Interior, gun owners will have to undergo a needs assessment for their gun ownership every five years. Certain large magazines will also be banned. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about guns in Germany

In addition, the weapon authorities of each of Germany’s states have to ask the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz) whether a weapon applicant has connections to extremist or anti-constitutional associations.

From September onward, it will also only be possible to buy or sell weapons after presenting a National Arms Register identification number. In addition, as of September, states may also set up zones where weapons are banned in busy places or near educational institutions.

Easier path to become a psychotherapist

Anyone looking to train to become a psychotherapist won’t have to go through as many loopholes. Starting Tuesday, the law on the training of psychotherapists (Gesetz zur Psychotherapeuten-Ausbildung) will be reformed. 

In future, high-school graduates (Abiturienten) will be able to study psychotherapy at university level immediately. The course of study includes both a three-year Bachelor's and a two-year Master's programme. 

In addition, the required licence to take a state psychotherapy examination can be applied for directly after graduation.

Mask requirement in more schools

Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are the last of Germany’s 16 states to go back to school in September.

Pupils wearing masks in a Bavarian classroom in May. Photo: DPA

And both are requiring that pupils wear a mask – though in Bavaria this applies in the classroom and in Baden-Württemberg outside of the classroom.  

READ ALSO: Bavaria to make face masks mandatory in secondary schools

But in Bavaria, secondary school pupils will only be required to wear a mask for the first two weeks. However, the requirement could be lengthened depending on the coronavirus situation following the 14-day period. 

Receipt requirement

Since the beginning of the year, retailers have had to issue a receipt to their customers for their purchases, so that payments could be tracked more easily.

As a result, Germany decreed that electronic cash registers must have a security device certified by the Federal Office for Security Technology which would allow the data to be digitally recorded and better checked. 

READ ALSO: 'Pointless paperwork' or necessary: Mixed views over Germany's new 'receipt obligation'

The deadline to upgrade these sales systems was officially September 30th. However, most of Germany’s states – with the exception of northern Bremen – have extended the deadline until March 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN GERMANY

Everything that changes in Germany in July 2022

From energy relief measures and an increase in the minimum wage to rules for making it easier to cancel contracts online, here's what's changing in Germany this July.

Everything that changes in Germany in July 2022

No more free rapid Covid tests for all

From July 1st, taxpayer-funded Covid-19 rapid tests or Bürgertests will no longer be free for everyone. Under the Health Ministry’s plans, the tests will cost €3, however, some groups of people will still get them for free. 

READ ALSO: Germany to charge €3 for Covid tests

Financial relief for families

As part of the government’s energy relief package, the Kinderbonus will be paid out to families in July. Each child entitled to child benefit will receive a one-time bonus of €100.

Due to inflation and rapidly rising food prices, recipients of social assistance benefits, Hartz-IV and asylum benefits will also get a cash boost in July. They will receive two payments of €100 each and their children €20 each.

€9 ticket and fuel tax cut continues

Germany’s €9 monthly public transport ticket offer continues until the end of August so people will be able to buy a ticket and use it in July. Similarly, the fuel tax cut is in force until the end of August. 

A Covid test centre in Rostock.

A Covid test centre in Rostock. Rapid tests will no longer be free for all from July. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Wüstneck

End of the EEG levy 

The Russian war on Ukraine is causing energy prices to rocket upwards. To help people in Germany deal with the price hikes, the coalition government in Germany has decided to abolish the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) charge.

The EEG levy is a green tax that has been used to fund investment in solar and wind power as part of the energy transition. Until January 1st, 2022, it added 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour to people’s energy bills, but at the start of the year, it was reduced to 3.72 cents per kilowatt hour.

From July people in Germany will no longer have to pay the levy. However, It’s not clear whether this will really save consumers much money, due to energy costs going up significantly. 

READ ALSO: Will German energy bills really come down soon?

Increase in the minimum wage

As Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats promised before the German federal election last year, the minimum wage is being raised this year. It is to be gradually increased to €12 by October 2022. In January the minimum wage rose to €9.82, in July it will rise to €10.45.

More financial relief measures come into force in Germany in July.

More financial relief measures come into force in Germany in July. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jonas Walzberg

Pension increase

People who receive pensions in Germany will get more money from July. In the states that formerly comprised West Germany, pensions will rise by 5.35 percent, in the former East German states by 6.12 percent. The German pension insurance fund says it is one of the highest adjustments since the introduction of pension insurance.

School holidays continue 

More schools in German states are finishing up for the summer. After schools in North Rhine-Westphalia broke up in June, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are next, followed by Hamburg, Berlin and Brandenburg on the Wednesday after (July 6th).

The southern states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria will be the last to go off on their school holidays – at the end of July and on August 1st respectively.

Pfand scheme extended 

From July, a 25-cent deposit or Pfand will be charged on more plastic bottles and drink cans. Due to the amendment of the Packaging Act, bottled fruit drinks such as orange juice as well as mixed alcoholic beverages will have to be recycled in future. Under plans to extend the scheme further, milk is set to be charged a Pfand from 2024. 

The regulation has been in effect since January 2022, but retailers were granted a transitional period until July 2022 to implement the change.

Get rid of old electrical appliances

From July, many large supermarkets and discount chains – including Aldi, Rewe and Edeka – will accept old electrical goods. People will be able to hand in products such as old mobile phones, electric razors, kettles and toasters free of charge. 

A kettle stands in a kitchen. Get rid of your old appliances at German supermarkets soon.

A kettle stands in a kitchen. Get rid of your old appliances at German supermarkets soon. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Andrea Warnecke

Driving licence deadline approaching

German people born between 1953 and 1958 and who have a paper driving licence issued before 1999 have to exchange it for a digital one or face a warning fine. The deadline for the exchange was originally planned for January, but due to the pandemic, it was extended to July 19th.

The cost of the exchange is €25.50. To apply for the EU driving licence, a valid identity card, the old driving licence and a biometric passport photo is needed. There is no extra driving or health test involved.

READ ALSO: Drivers in Germany given extension to exchange driving licence 

New rent law comes into force

As of July, tenants and landlords will have to provide information on rental prices if they are asked to by authorities. This is to enable a comparison of rents, especially in large cities. Tenants and landlords will be selected at random. Those who refuse to provide information can face a fine of up to €5,000.

Extension of tobacco tax

At the start of 2022, tobacco tax was increased and the price of cigarettes went up. As of July, this also applies to shisha tobacco and liquids for e-cigarettes.

Cancellations of contracts online to become easier

Since the beginning of the year, consumers in Germany have been able to terminate rolling contracts more easily. And people who have concluded a contract online should also be able to terminate it online in future under new laws. 

From July onwards, firms have to include a cancellation button on websites where contracts can be concluded. If this is not the case, the consumer has the right to terminate the contract without notice.

READ ALSO: How Germany is making it easier to cancel contracts 

Cost of sending packages goes up

Anyone who wants to send parcels or packages with DHL from July onwards will unfortunately have to dig further into their pockets. The rises apply to domestic and international shipments. DHL said the price hikes are because of the rise in transport, delivery and labour costs.

READ ALSO: What to know about German parcel delivery hikes

Tax deadline extended

One last point – self-submitted tax returns in Germany were due to be sent to the tax office by the end of July. However, the deadline has been extended until the end of October, giving people more time. 

READ ALSO: Why people in Germany have longer to do their tax return this year

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