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WHAT CHANGES IN GERMANY

Everything that changes in Germany in September 2022

From the €300 payment for workers and new energy saving rules to the end of the €9 ticket, here's what's changing in Germany this September.

The clock on the tower of the Martin Luther Church in Schönhagen, Lower Saxony.
The clock on the tower of the Martin Luther Church in Schönhagen, Lower Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Swen Pförtner

One-off €300 payment to workers

In September, employees in Germany will receive a special payment to help with rising energy costs. The €300, which is subject to tax, is for people in employment and will be paid out in salaries by employers.

Some people may receive the payment in October so check with your boss if you have any questions. 

Self-employed people can deduct it from their advance tax payments from September or when they submit their tax return next year.

READ MORE: What you need to know about Germany’s €300 energy relief payout

Nationwide €9 ticket comes to an end

The €9 monthly travel ticket, which is valid on public transport across Germany – including regional trains – will be no more from September 1st. It was in place for three months from June until the end of August. 

There have been lots of discussions about a follow-up nationwide ticket, but nothing firm is in place at the moment. However, Berlin is planning to introduce a temporary, reduced-cost ticket.

Unfortunately, in many places it may cost more to use public transport. German press group DPA recently surveyed operators – and they said they were planning to increase the cost of their tariffs in the near future – or have already done so.

READ ALSO: 

Bus driver Miriam Kara holds the €9 ticket in Hamburg.

Bus driver Miriam Kara holds the €9 ticket in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Markus Scholz

TIP: Ticket checkers may be out in force in the first days of September and many people could get caught out if they don’t buy a valid ticket. Make sure you travel with the right ticket, and let friends and family members know that the €9 offer is no longer in place. 

Fuel tax cut ends

The fuel tax discount aimed at providing relief to drivers expires at the end of August too. Prices for petrol and diesel are therefore likely to rise. The government had reduced the energy tax on fuels in June, July and August.

Pharmacies have to accept e-prescriptions

From September 1st, pharmacies throughout Germany will be required to accept digital prescriptions – known as e-prescriptions. This is also being phased in regionally to doctors.

The aim is for paper prescriptions to be consigned to the past, and patients will receive a QR code on their smartphones instead. Those who do not have the app or a smartphone will receive the code printed out on a piece of paper. The e-prescription only applies to those with statutory health insurance and not to those with private insurance.

READ ALSO: How Germany will roll out e-prescriptions this year

All schools return after summer ends

In Germany, the summer vacations are coming to an end in the last federal states. In Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, school starts again on September 5th. In Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg pupils and teachers go back a week later, on September 12th. This means that students everywhere across the country will be back in class, ready for the new school year. 

A pupil writes in English at a German school.

A pupil writes in English at a German school. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Marijan Murat

Politics ramps up again

Due to the energy crisis, politicians arguably haven’t had much of a break this summer. But political life ramps up again in September. A week of sessions in the Bundestag begins on September 6th, and as always, the budget for 2023 will be discussed.

For the government, however, the coming weeks will be about one thing in particular: the third energy relief package to help residents cope with sky-high energy bills. It is expected to be presented before the gas surcharge on consumers comes into force in October.

Regulation on energy saving comes into force

With the temperature set to cool down as we head into the tail end of summer, people may soon want to heat their homes and workplaces. But it’s going to be a tough winter in Germany due to the energy crisis. 

To save on gas and electricity, as well as try and reduce energy dependence on Russian energy, the German government is introducing energy-saving regulations.

From September 1st, the temperature in public buildings is not allowed to exceed 19C and there will be no hot water for hand-washing.

Landlords will also be required to encourage their tenants to save energy. Retailers will have to take certain measures such as closing doors during the heating season and turning off window lights at night. 

READ ALSO: What to know about Germany’s energy saving rules

Pay rise for care sector workers

Employees in the care sector will receive more money from September 1st. For skilled nursing staff, the minimum wage will increase from €15 to €17.10 per hour; for nursing staff with one or two years of training, the minimum wage will rise from the current €12.50 to €14.60; and for nursing staff without a formal training qualification, the minimum wage will increase from the current €12 to €13.70. Keep in mind that to cover these pay increases, employers could raise costs for people in care.

Oktoberfest returns

For the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic in 2020, there will be an Oktoberfest again in Munich. The huge festival is to be celebrated from September 17th to October 3rd. The 17 festival halls will offer space for around 120,000 guests. 

Revellers enjoy the Oktoberfest atmosphere  in September 2019.

Revellers enjoy the Oktoberfest atmosphere in September 2019. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Matthias Balk

Get ready for these German TV shows to return

After a summer break, some German TV favourites are returning. On September 4th, the drama Tatort (Crime Scene) returns after 10 weeks without new cases. The first regular “Heute-show” (Today Show), the satirical news programme with Oliver Welke, comes back on September 9th. And the ARD Sunday talk show “Anne Will” returns on September 18th.

READ ALSO: What do Germans like to watch on TV?

Cost of Amazon Prime goes up

Amazon Prime is getting more expensive. From September 15th, the Prime membership fee will increase from €7.99 to €8.99 for monthly payments and from €69 to €89.90 for annual payments. Prime is a paid membership and the subscription includes premium shipping and access to Prime Video.

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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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