For members


Everything that changes in Germany in November 2021

From public holidays to new driving fines and the start of the skiing season, here's what's changing in Germany this November.

An alarm clock among the autumn leaves.
An alarm clock among the autumn leaves. There's lots changing in Germany in November. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Sebastian Kahnert

Holidays in November

In some German states, workers can expect time off in November. Right at the start of the month, residents in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland  get an extended weekend on All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen) on November 1st.

One state can also look forward to a holiday on November 17th. The day of Repentance and Prayer (Buß- und Bettag) is a celebrated in Saxony.

New traffic fines come into force

Germany is getting tougher on reckless drivers. 

From November 10th onwards, they will face higher fines under new rules passed by the German parliaments in October.

The illegal use of pavements, cycle paths and hard shoulders will be punished with a fine of up to €100 instead of the previous €25, while people who go above the speed limit will pay at least €70 instead of €35, with higher fines for higher speeds. 

In some cases, speeders can expect fines of €400 for driving over the limit in urban areas.

Vehicles on the Autobahn in Saxony
Vehicles on the Autobahn in Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Robert Michael

There will also be higher fines for those who park illegally on footpaths and cycle paths, stop without permission on hard shoulders or park in the second row.

READ MORE: Germany’s tougher driving fines

Unvaccinated people may lose out on pay

German states have been putting in place a new regulation that means people who are eligible for vaccination but don’t get their jabs lose out on pay if they can’t work when ordered by authorities to quarantine.

From November 1st at the latest, all states must have this rule in force. 

Under previous Germany-wide rules, all employees who were unable to work after being told to go into quarantine still received wage compensation, regardless of their vaccination status. 

The move was agreed upon by a majority of the federal and state health ministers.

READ ALSO: What employees in Germany should know about quarantine compensation

In October, German authorities removed free-to-access rapid Covid tests. Unvaccinated people who want to visit an indoor public space, like a restaurant, now have to pay for a Covid test themselves unless they fall into a group who still qualify for free tests. 

Emergency pandemic powers could end

Germany may end its ‘pandemic state of emergency’ in November. The special powers, which form the legal basis for introducing measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, are due to expire on November 25th. 

The coalition parties in talk to form a new government – the Social Democrats, Greens and FDP – want to let these powers expire but provide legislation for states to keep the Covid measures in place until at least spring 2022. 

The Bundestag will vote on whether to extend or let the pandemic powers expire. 

READ ALSO: Germany could end pandemic rules in March 2022

A mask on the ground in Mühldorf Am Inn, Bavaria.
A mask on the ground in Mühldorf Am Inn, Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Matthias Balk

Winter sports season kicks off 

Skiing resorts remained closed across most of Europe (notably not in Austria) during last year’s pandemic shutdown. But this year it’s more promising.

The Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, will be the first ski area in Germany to start winter sports operations on November 19th.

The season is expected to open under Germany’s ‘3G’ Covid health pass rules. That means that only people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 (geimpft in the German language), those who’ve recovered from Covid (genesen) or people who’ve tested negatively for Covid (getestet) can use indoor facilities like cable cars.  

Children up to six-years-old and school pupils will be exempt, reports the German motoring association ADAC which regularly reports on travel rules. Masks will be compulsory in all lifts.

States in Germany have been allowed to choose whether businesses – like restaurants, cafes and culture facilities – use the 3G rule – or if they can be given the option to offer the more restrictive 2G rule (meaning only the vaccinated and people who’ve recovered from Covid) can use facilities. 

So keep in mind that there could be differences in how businesses operate depending on the German state. 

Happy skiing and stay safe!

COMPARE: What Covid rules are in place for the winter sports season?

Deadline for vehicle insurance change

The changeover season for vehicle insurance (Kfz-Versicherung) is underway. And here’s something to put in your diary: November 30th is the annual cut-off date for the change of car insurance.

This is because notice of termination must be given up to one month before the end of the term, and the vast majority of contracts run until the end of December. Without notice of termination, the insurance will be extended. Changing insurance is often an easy way to save some money each year.

Christmas markets and Advent

Markets were hugely scaled back last year as Germany battled an intense Covid wave. Infections are currently rising – but because the majority of people in Germany are vaccinated against Covid-19, the government says another shutdown of businesses should be avoided. 

Christmas markets therefore are making the most of being allowed to open – and some will start as early as mid November.

Christmas lights in Wernigerode in early January 2021, Saxony-Anhalt.
Christmas lights in Wernigerode in early January 2021, Saxony-Anhalt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein

But expect some rules – such as 3G entry (you have to show proof of vaccination, recovery of Covid or a negative Coivid test) or even 2G (vaccinated people are excluded).

READ ALSO: Berlin allows Christmas markets to exclude unvaccinated people 

Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas every year, and traditionally refers to awaiting the advent, or “arrival” of Christ. It begins this year on November 28th.

Karneval season kicks off

Germany’s carnival season starts on November 11th. Celebrations – which are usually focused on cities in the west of the country – start at 11.11am.

Last year saw most festivities cancelled due to the Covid crisis. This year the Karneval is tentatively swinging back into action swing (within the scope of the pandemic). 

Carnival king Klaus-Ludwig Fess, head of the association of German carnival, told Rheinishe Post online: “I’m actually hopeful that it will be like before Corona again.”

The 3G rules will likely be in place for outdoor events, and the association of German carnival recommends that only the vaccinated and people who’ve recovered from Covid can be admitted to indoor events. 

PayPal business fees for UK will rise 

One for businesses to keep in mind: PayPal is introducing new fees for payments between businesses in the UK and those in the rest of Europe following Brexit. From November 10th, payments between the European Economic Area (EEA) and British Businesses will be charged a 1.29 percent fee. 

The current rate is around 0.5 percent. That has remained unchanged since before the UK left the EU Customs Union and Single Market. But PayPal said it was now facing extra costs, such as the rise in interchange fees between the UK and EEA.

Payments between EU and associated state countries and countries outside the EU are charged a 1.99 percent fee. Within the EU the fee for businesses is 0.5 percent. 

Bargains for shoppers

If you fancy some retail therapy, don’t forget that Black Friday and Cyber Monday is approaching. Retailers are set to offer lots of discounts. Black Friday is on November 26th and Cyber Monday is on November 29th. 

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For members


Everything that changes in Germany in August 2022

From the €9 ticket and fuel tax cut, to travel chaos, tax deadlines and digital steps forward, here's what's changing in Germany this August.

Everything that changes in Germany in August 2022

€9 ticket and fuel tax cut runs out

Germany’s €9 monthly public transport ticket offer continues until the end of August so people will be able to buy and use it for the month before it it’s gone when September starts (sadly).

The fuel tax cut is also in force until the end of August. For petrol, the government-subsidised “tank rebate” is about 30 cents per litre, for diesel about 14 cents per litre. The reduction is limited until August 31st.

No plans have been announced yet to extend these measures. 

Travel chaos continues in Europe

The summer months have been chaotic for travellers, and we have seen examples of airports congested throughout Europe. This will continue during August, as airlines have cancelled more than 25,000 flights from their August schedule. 

In Germany, around 6,000 flights operated by Lufthansa alone have been scrapped from the summer schedule.

More strikes?

German airline giant Lufthansa ground staff staged a one-day strike on Wednesday July 27th. Negotiations between Verdi union and Lufthansa will happen on August 3rd and 4th.

It may be that more strikes are announced if an agreement on pay for the 20,000 ground staff isn’t reached. Keep an eye on The Local’s homepage. 

READ ALSO: Flights disrupted across Germany as Lufthansa strike begins

Travellers queue at terminal 2 of Frankfurt airport on July 23rd.

Travellers queue at terminal 2 of Frankfurt airport on July 23rd. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

August regional holiday

There is only one official holiday in Germany in August – Assumption Day – or Mariä Himmelfahrt – on August 15th. It is a regional holiday for the states of Bavaria and Saarland.

It falls on a Monday, so don’t forget to prepare yourself for it, as most shops and supermarkets will be closed on the holiday and Sunday as well (as they always are in Germany).

Tax deadline

Those who have their tax return for 2020 prepared by a tax advisor or an income tax assistance association still have until August 31st to hand it in.

The deadline was extended again in May to relieve tax advisors who have extra work in their plate with auditing Covid financial assistance during the pandemic period.

READ ALSO: Why people in Germany have longer for their tax returns this year

More transparency in employment contracts

Whether it’s the scope of work, length of probationary period, possible overtime or notice period, employment contracts issued from August 1st onwards must clearly state in writing the working conditions for new jobs.

It must also be documented what wages will be paid, how they will be made up, what further training has been promised, what the shift system and rest breaks will be like, and what applies to the remuneration of overtime, allowances and bonuses.

Information on contracting parties, remuneration and working hours must be provided in writing to new employees no later than the start of employment – all other supporting documents can be given within seven calendar days.

More assistance for students

From August 1st, there will be more BAföG financial assistance for students. The maximum support rate for students will be raised from €861 to €934 per month. The tax-free amount on the parents’ income, which is the basis for calculating the education grant, will also go up. This also increases the group of those eligible for support.

The previous tax-free allowance of €8,200 for the assets of trainees will also be increased – to €15,000 for people up to the age of 29, and to €45,000 from the age of 30. Furthermore, the age limit for BAföG funding will be extended from 30 to 45.

READ ALSO: German students to get higher grants from winter 2022

View of the Martin Luther University (MLU) campus in Halle.

View of the Martin Luther University (MLU) campus in Halle. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hendrik Schmidt

Minimum wage goes up

For stonemasons and people in the stone-sculpting trade, new industry minimum wages will apply from August 1st 2022; instead of €12.85 per hour, employees will get 50 cents more, raising it to €13.35. Independently of this, there is also the German statutory minimum wage, which will increase to €12 in October.

Digital step for founding companies

From August 1st, anyone who wants to establish a GmbH (a company with limited liability) or KG (limited partnership) can do so without having to attend the notarial certification in person – they can also do it via online video communication.

This is regulated by the Act on the Implementation of the Digitalisation Directive (DiRUG). “The parties involved are identified by means of an electronically transmitted photograph in conjunction with an electronic proof of identity, e.g. the German identity card with eID function,” explains the Hanover Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Pupils return to the classroom – or go on holiday

Schools in several states will return after the summer break in August. But the southern states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria are the last to go off on their school holidays – at the end of July and on August 1st respectively.

Cheaper medicines in the pharmacy

Patients who are prescribed biopharmaceuticals (or biologics) by their doctor, which are often used for Crohn’s disease, arthritis or cancer, can be given cheaper medicines of the same type at the pharmacy from August 16th. This is regulated by the “Law for More Safety in the Supply of Medicines”.

The biosimilars, i.e. similar biological medicines, are to come into circulation more quickly, and drug costs are to be reduced. The law is intended to relieve the burden on health insurance companies. The imitation products are produced and tested by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) under strict criteria as soon as the patent for a drug expires, and are considered to be just as effective as the respective original.

General measles vaccination mandate in care facilities applies

Since March 2020, measles vaccinations have been compulsory in communal facilities such as Kindergartens, asylum seekers’ and refugees’ accommodation and in medical facilities – for caregivers and other employees in the facilities.

Those who already worked in one of the above-mentioned facilities before March 2020 were granted a transitional period until July 31st 2022 to present proof of vaccination.

People who do not comply with the vaccination obligation will be banned from care or work from August 1st, and could also face fines of up to €2,500 if they flout the rules. People who cannot get the vaccination for medical reasons and those born before 1971 are exempt from the measles jab mandate.

A vaccination pass with the measles box ticked.

A vaccination pass with the measles box ticked. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Tom Weller

Titanium dioxide banned in food

Titanium dioxide is used as a whitening agent in wall paints, varnishes, cosmetics and medicines. But foodstuffs such as chewing gum, sweets, baked goods, soups and salad dressings also often rely on it, especially in the USA. It’s found on the packaging as the additive E171.

As of August, however, titanium dioxide can no longer be used in food production in Europe. The European Commission imposed the ban because it could not be ruled out that the chemical substances could alter “genetic cell material” and that the food additive could therefore no longer be considered safe. In France, titanium dioxide hasn’t been used in food since 2020.