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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 December 2022

From new train schedules to energy relief payments, here are the biggest changes and most important dates in Germany in December 2022.

Everything that changes in Germany in December 2022

Pensioners’ Payment 

In December all German pensioners will receive a one-time, €300 payment to cope with skyrocketing energy prices. However, the payment is taxed according to income. Employees already received their lump sum payment in September or October. 

READ ALSO: Pensioners in Germany: How to receive an energy relief payment

New Deutsche Bahn Train schedule 

Anyone planning to travel by train in the near future can look forward to Deutsche Bahn’s new train schedule, which officially comes out on December 11th. Some of the highlights include:

-The opening of an ‘express route‘ (Schnellfahrtstrecke) between Wendlingen am Neckar and Ulm.

-The new express train ICE 3neo will travel on tracks between Cologne, Munich and Dortmund.

-Two routes will have 60 percent more seating available: Munich-Ulm-Stuttgart-Frankfurt Airport and Bremen-Osnabrück-Munich-Cologne

People walk next to a high speed train in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt
 

State employees to receive more pay

Starting in December, state employees can look forward to receiving 2.8 percent more pay. This affects more than one million employees covered by collective agreements. Trainees and interns in the public sector are slated to receive an extra €50 per month, with the figure going up to €70 within the health sector.

Fireworks allowed again

For New Year’s Eve in 2020 and 2021, Germany put up an official ban on fireworks and firecrackers, a notoriously popular way to ring in the New Year. But this Silvester, the nationwide ban is being repealed, much to the joy (or dread) of partygoers. It’s still possible that individual cities could enforce zones where a ban is still enforced. 

READ ALSO: Will Berlin bring back fireworks after two years of New Year’s Eve bans?

Relief for gas and district heating.

As part of the gas price cap (Gaspreisbremse), the German government decided that the costs for people with gas or district heating would be covered by the state on a one-off basis in December 2022, based on the amount they were paid in September. If the landlord has a direct contract with the energy company they are to credit the payment to their tenants – which means that, if you’re unlucky, you won’t receive it until the end of 2023.

READ ALSO: When will people in Germany get their December gas bill payment?

Apple launches emergency call SOS via satellite

Apple already released its new “Emergency SOS via Satellite” feature in the US and Canada. Starting in December, German users of the iPhone 14 models will also be able to use the feature – which allows them to connect to the emergency services even if neither cellular nor Wi-Fi reception is available.

New streaming service

Paramount Plus is a new streaming service launching in Germany on December 8th. According to the official press release, the streaming portal from Paramount Global, meanwhile, wants to do nothing less than “scale the pinnacle of streaming”, by bringing a massive amount of hit TV shows and movies for €7.99 per month or €79.90 per year. The service will also be launched in Austria and Switzerland.

A less hairy situation

Regret getting that large dragon tattoo, or already preparing for an exotic beach holiday next year? As of December 31st, anyone in Germany who gets a tattoo removed or wants to have their intimate hair lasered off will only be allowed to have this done by cosmeticians or doctors who are actually trained for this and has a corresponding certificate.

Important December dates and deadlines

In addition to big changes, here are the biggest dates to take note of before next year.

Christmas post deadline

Anyone who is sending letters or packages to friends and family in Germany should take note of some important dates. Letters need to be sent by December 22nd, according to Deutsche Post. For packages, the cutoff date is December 20th. Outside of Germany, there are no guaranteed dates but earlier is always better. 

A man dressed as Santa delivers post

The Deutsche Post’s own ‘Father Christmas’ delivers some post-Brexit goodies. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Bernd Settnik

First ‘Nationwide Warning Day’ 

On December 8th, German authorities will test how well official warnings via radio, television, apps or sirens would work in an emergency. 

The new ‘Cell Broadcast Warning System’ will also be put to test for the first time on this day. In the system, messages will be sent like broadcast signals to all compatible devices. Unlike other warning systems such as Nina or Katwarn, you don’t have to have an app to be alerted – just your normal cell phone if the test goes according to plan.

Deadline for voluntary tax returns

There is a four-year deadline for a voluntary tax return or freiwillige Steuererklarung. Employees can submit their voluntary tax return for 2018 to the tax office until December 31st. It can be submitted either by mail or online via the “Elster” portal. A declaration submitted late, even if on January 1st, 2023, will no longer be accepted.

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