SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

NEWSLETTER

Everything that changes in Germany in July 2021

From the home office obligation ending to changes to packaging laws and the launch of the digital EU 'travel pass', here's what you should know about life in Germany this July.

Everything that changes in Germany in July 2021
"Zum alten Kuckuck" (The Old Cuckoo) is on the grounds of entertainer Willy Krusig in Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Baden-Württemberg in May 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Uli Deck

End of compulsory working from home

As of July 1st, the regulations on workplace infection control in Germany will change due to low incidence rates and the sharp drop in Covid cases. As a result, the ‘home office’ obligation will expire at the end of June.

Companies will no longer be required to allow employees to work from home – and staff will also no longer have to accept this offer from their employer.

It’s still possible to work from home if your boss allows you to do so, though.

Bosses still have to offer staff attending their workplace regular Covid tests. In addition, social distancing rules, mask wearing and room ventilation must continue.

READ ALSO: End of home office: Are employees in Germany ready to return to the office?

Blanket travel warning lifted

The German government is changing its coronavirus travel system in July. Throughout most of the pandemic, a general travel warning has been in place, urging people not to travel for tourism. 

But from July 1st authorities in Germany will no longer advise against tourist travel abroad.  

READ ALSO: Is Germany set to tighten travel and quarantine rules?

Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said: “After long months of lockdowns, we can look forward to more normalcy, and that also applies to travelling.” However, he said warnings would remain in place for countries deemed high risk, and caution will be needed. 

There are still concerns over the spread of the Delta variant so the German Foreign Office will implement the following system from July 1st:

  • For countries and regions classified as high incidence or virus variant areas, a coronavirus-related travel warning will continue to apply
  • For “basic” risk areas (seven-day incidence above 50 but below 200), non-essential tourist travel is discouraged
  • For countries and regions of the EU not classified as risk areas, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, special caution is requested when travelling in view of the ongoing pandemic
  • For non-EU countries not classified as risk areas, travel is advised against if restrictions (entry restrictions, quarantine obligation) persist, otherwise special caution is requested in view of the pandemic

READ ALSO: Germany to lift Covid travel warning for most countries from July 1st

Travellers at Düsseldorf airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | David Young

EU digital Covid pass launches

Still on the topic of travel, this digital ‘travel pass’ should make things a little easier if you’re venturing out of the country. 

Officially the EU’s Covid-19 certificate, as it’s properly known, launches across the bloc on July 1st.

From that date, people who can show they are fully vaccinated can travel anywhere within the EU or Schengen zone without needing to follow certain health measures, such as quarantining or testing. But note that strict measures remain in place for ‘virus variant’ countries,  which currently includes Portugal. 

Slightly confusingly, some nations already accept it. On Thursday, June 24th, Norway eased regulations to allow visitors from 12 EU countries to travel using the EU Covid certificate. For the rest, it will be available from July 1st.

According to German Health Minister Jens Spahn, all fully vaccinated people in Germany should be able to obtain a digital certificate by the end of June. 

Along with Germany, the EU pass will soon be valid in countries such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands , Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, as well as Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway.

READ ALSO:

Minimum wage increase

The minimum wage in Germany will rise by 10 cents from €9.50 to €9.60 from July 1st. Over two years, the minimum wage is being raised step by step. By the end of 2022, the minimum wage is to rise to €10.45.

10 single-use plastics officially banned

As of July 3rd, changes to the Packaging Act will come into force. Germany approved the legislation last September, banning 10 disposable plastic products such as straws, cutlery and cotton buds that are polluting the world’s oceans.

Manufacturers will not be allowed to produce food and beverage containers made of Styrofoam from July. Furthermore cutlery, cosmetic cotton swabs, balloon sticks, stirrers, plates, bowls and drinking straws will also no longer be made from plastic.

If retailers and restaurants have remaining stocks, they can continue to hand them out so that they do not end up unused in the rubbish bin.

According to the EU Commission, the products prohibited under the law represent 70 percent of the waste that pours into oceans, posing a threat to wildlife and fisheries.

READ ALSO: Germany to ban disposable plastics by mid-2021

New EU VAT rules for imported goods

Imported goods with a value of €22 or less used to be exempt from tax, but this condition will be scrapped on July 1st across the EU.

This means all goods arriving into Germany and other EU countries from non-EU countries will be subject to VAT, regardless of their value.

This EU-wide regulation will particularly affect businesses that import goods from outside of the bloc and people who shop online on international websites such as China’s AliExpress.

If the goods cost more than €150 (not including transport, insurance and handling charges) you will also have to pay customs duty.

If businesses don’t register with the The Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS), the VAT will be paid by the customer when importing the goods into the EU.

Postal or courier companies may charge the customer an additional clearance fee to collect this VAT and carry out the necessary procedures when importing the goods.

New delivery procedure at DHL

There are changes to DHL’s delivery procedure that you should be aware of.  Starting in July, parcel carriers will no longer have to ring the doorbell when they deliver a shipment to some customers. 

Not all DHL customers are affected by this new regulation – only those who have previously selected a specific drop-off location. For some time now, it has been possible to specify a drop-off location to prevent a parcel from being dropped off at the nearest store when the customer is absent.

Such locations are often the customer’s own garage, terrace or flat corridor. Anyone who has selected this option in the past or wants to specify it in the future will no longer have their doorbell rung.

Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Robert Michael

Real becomes Edeka, Kaufland or Globus

Shopping at the supermarket Real will soon no longer be possible. Since the beginning of the year, branches of the supermarket chain have been taken over or closed by Kaufland, Edeka or Globus. In July, there will be another wave of takeovers. 

Pension increase in eastern Germany

Normally, retirement benefits increase in the summer. But this year that this is not the case in western Germany due to the cost of the Covid crisis.

However, pensioners in eastern states will get a marginal increase in their retirement benefits of 0.72 percent from July 1st, as the adjustments to the western levels are not being suspended. By 2024, the pension value in the east of Germany is to be brought into line with that in the west.

School holidays continue

School holidays have already started for children in some states, including Berlin, Brandenburg, Schlwesig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. But for many youngsters, they still haven’t kicked in. The other states will start their holidays in July. 

Bavaria will be the last state to start on July 30th. August 1st will then mark the only weekend in Germany when all schoolchildren will be on summer holidays at the same time. 

READ ALSO: Masks and Covid tests ‘should continue in schools until 2022’

Online gambling becomes legal across Germany

Online poker and roulette will be permitted under uniform federal rules that come into force at the beginning of July. Up to this point there have been different rules across states. 

The State Gambling Treaty is intended to enable a uniform level of player and youth protection throughout Germany.

In future, for instance, a gaming account will be mandatory for online gambling. Players will have to identify and authenticate themselves. This is intended to exclude minors.

Players will also only be allowed to deposit up to €1,000 per month into the gaming account. At the same time, online poker and virtual slot machine games from private providers will be legalised within a narrow framework, the Berlin Senate Chancellery said. The aim, they say, is to curb the black market.

Member comments

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
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

Taxpayer-funded Covid-19 rapid tests or Bürgertests are no longer 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:

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

SHOW COMMENTS