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WHAT CHANGES IN GERMANY

Everything that changes in Germany in June 2022

From the €9 ticket and fuel cut to public holidays, festivals and rail cards, we look at the changes to know about in Germany this June.

A clock in Germany's Triberg.
A clock in the German city of Triberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Patrick Seeger

€9 monthly ticket 

From June 1st, the hotly-anticipated €9 ticket comes into force in Germany. For three months, riding local and regional transport will be much cheaper. 

People will be able to use the ticket on buses, trains and trams throughout Germany’s public transport network. The ticket is not valid on long-distance transport, such as ICE, IC or EC and Flix services, however, it can be used on regional trains. 

The offer runs until the end of August. Tickets can be purchased at ticket machines, counters or online from local transport companies as well as Deutsche Bahn. 

The deal is aimed at providing relief during the energy and cost of living crisis, while also serving as a trial for climate-friendly mobility options. 

READ ALSO:

A passenger holds the €9 ticket in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria.

A passenger holds the €9 ticket in front of a train and the Wetterstein mountains in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Angelika Warmuth

Fuel prices to drop

At the same time as the €9 ticket, gas should also become cheaper. From June until the end of August, the energy tax on fuels is to be reduced to the minimum permitted in the EU.

For petrol, the tax rate is to drop by almost 30 cents, for diesel by 14 cents. And VAT will no longer be due on the portion of the energy tax that’s being dropped. This will further reduce the tax burden.

As the Finance Ministry has said, the overall tax relief is 35.2 cents per litre of petrol and 16.7 euros per litre of diesel. Critics warn, however, that oil companies are not obliged to pass on the tax savings to their customers, and could keep prices up and make more profit. Then consumers would not benefit from the change.

READ ALSO: When will Germany’s fuel tax cut come into force?

Heating cost allowance on the way

Financial relief for low-income households to deal with heating costs will also arrive in June.

About 2.1 million people will receive a one-time subsidy for their heating costs under the law from the government. They include students who receive the BAföG allowance who no longer live with their parents, recipients of housing allowance and people who get a vocational training allowance. No application is needed to receive the grant – it is transferred directly to the person’s account.

Eased travel restrictions

From June 1st, people travelling into Germany will not have to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test – known as the 3G rule. Up until then people over the age of 12 have had to upload or show this proof before entering Germany.

This restriction is being eased until the end of August because of the falling Covid rates, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said. 

Passengers wait in at Hamburg airport.

Passengers wait in at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Markus Scholz

The stricter rules for entry from ‘virus variant areas’ remain in place – but there are no variant areas at the moment.

Another change is that Germany will recognise any vaccine approved by WHO from June, rather than only European Medical Agency (EMA) approved vaccines which has been the case up until now. 

EXPLAINED:Germany relaxes travel restrictions for summer

No more sick leave by phone

On May 31st, the special regulation that made it possible to get a sick note by telephone from the doctor in the case of a mild upper respiratory tract illness, such as a common cold, is set to end.

People in Germany have to visit a doctor’s office in person to get a sick note that they can then submit to their employers if they need time off due to illness. However, due to the pandemic, the regulation was changed so that people could get an Incapacity to work certificate or AU-Bescheinigung through a phone call to their GP. 

Summer timetable

The summer timetable for Deutsche Bahn and other transport companies will come into effect on June 12th Some of the changes include Deutsche Bahn again offering a direct connection between Berlin and the North Sea island of Sylt.

Furthermore, Chemnitz will be connected to the long-distance network after a decade and a half – and will get connections to Berlin and on to the Baltic Sea without the need for changing trains.

READ ALSO: What is Sylt and why is it terrified of the €9 holidaymakers?

Aldi raises minimum wage

While the statutory minimum wage is set to rise to €10.45 on July 1st 2022 and reach €12 this year, supermarket giant Aldi is raising the minimum wage for its workers in June. It means employees of the chain will earn at least €14 an hour instead of €12.50. This applies to both Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord.

Public holidays 

June 6th – Whit Monday – is a national public holiday in Germany so many employees will get the day off and shops will be closed. Meanwhile, residents in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland are lucky enough to get another public holiday in the same month – on Thursday June 16th – for Corpus Christi or Fronleichnam.

READ ALSO: How to make the most of public holidays in Germany in 2022

Schools out 

Keep in mind that some states have school holidays around this time of year too. The school year is also coming to end for young people in North Rhine-Westphalia, who are the first in Germany to kick off their summer holidays. Their last day of school is June 24th. Bavaria is the last state to start the summer hols – on July 29th.

Unemployment benefits for Ukrainian refugees

Refugees from Ukraine will be entitled to Germany’s unemployment II benefit – known as Hartz IV – as of June 1st. These can then be granted for a maximum of six months. Until now, this group has received lower benefits under the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act. The changes mean that people who have fled Russia’s war on Ukraine and arrived in Germany will in future be able to receive counselling and support for job applications. 

Rock on!

Gig-goers can look forward to an extensive summer of festivals. After two years off due to the pandemic, many rock and pop festivals are planned to take place once more. The twin festivals Rock im Park in Nuremberg and Rock am Ring in Rhineland-Palatinate will kick things off from June 3rd to 5th. Headliners are Volbeat, Green Day and Muse. Both festivals – like most in the country – were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid restrictions. Those rules have now been significantly eased. 

Fans attend the Rock am Ring festival in June 2019.

Fans attend the Rock am Ring festival in June 2019. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Thomas Frey

Vaccination certificates may expire

Those who have not yet received their third Covid vaccination – booster shot – should keep an eye on June 14th: on this date, some digital coronavirus vaccination certificates expire. That’s because the digital versions of the vaccination certificate issued in pharmacies on June 14th 2021 are only valid for a year. Users of the Corona Warning app or CoV Pass app will receive a notification 28 days before the certificate expires.

But vaccinations are still valid – it’s just a matter of the technical expiry date. “In order to continue to be able to prove your vaccination status, the corresponding certificates must be updated,” writes the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Updates for the Corona Warning app and the CovPass app are planned, according to the RKI, and should be available soon.

However – keep in mind that you generally need a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated when entering Germany from abroad under the latest EU certificate rules (although you may not need to show proof of vaccination under the changes to travel rules we mentioned above). That’s because the EU vaccination certificates expire after nine months if no third jab has been received. You might also need a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated to visit other countries, so double check before you travel.

READ ALSO: The new rules for entering Germany with an EU Covid pass

BahnComfort bonus programme to be ditched

Regular train customers in Germany will have to prepare for changes in June. Operator Deutsche Bahn is ditching the BahnComfort bonus programme on June 13th. From then, the operator will only run the BahnBonus programme, but this will also change a bit. 

From mid-June, there will be three different status levels. “The higher the status level, the more attractive the benefits,” says Deutsche Bahn. “In the different levels – from 1,500, from 2,500 and from 6,000 status points – you can look forward to many benefits, such as admission to the DB Lounge, exclusive seating, preferential service in the travel centre as well as some new status benefits.” 

Full details of the new bonus programme are to be available on the DB website from June.

Goodbye Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser was considered the first browser suitable for the masses and, for many, the entry point to the Internet. After 27 years, however, it is considered outdated. For this reason, it has no longer been supported by a number of different programmes since last year. And in June 15th, Internet Explorer will be discontinued completely. The firm has replaced the browser with Microsoft Edge.

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN GERMANY

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.

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