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Do cross-border workers get Germany’s €300 energy relief payment?

Workers in Germany are set to receive a one-off payout to help with high energy costs. What's the situation with cross-border commuters?

A woman in Germany holds cash notes in her hand.
A woman in Germany holds cash notes in her hand. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Karmann

In September, workers in Germany will receive €300 as part of government measures agreed earlier this year to help people deal with the rising cost of energy.

The payout will be subject to tax and should arrive along with employees’ September pay packets. 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

We looked at whether cross-border commuters can get the payment following a question from a reader of The Local. 

I live in Germany but I work in another country. Can I get it?

Yes. Due to Germany’s location in Europe, many people live in the Bundesrepublik but work in one of the neighbouring countries, such as Austria or Switzerland. 

And there’s good news for them: cross-border commuters who are subject to unlimited tax liability in Germany and receive income from employment with a foreign employer in 2022 are entitled to the payment, known as the Energiepreispauschale or EPP in Germany.

“The entitlement to the EPP exists irrespective of whether Germany also has the right to tax the salary,” says the German government.

Employers in Germany will generally make the €300 payment as part of employees’ salaries.

“However, the foreign employer does not pay EPP under German law,” says the government. 

Instead, employees in this position will receive the payment from their tax office “via the submission of an income tax return for the year 2022”, added the government.

I work in Germany but I live in another country. Can I get the payment?

In this case, the answer is no. Workers have to be residents in Germany to be entitled to the payment. 

“Taxpayers without residence or habitual abode in Germany, in particular employees with limited income tax liability, are not eligible,” says the German government. 


Cross-border commuters – (die) Grenzpendler

Neighbouring country – (das) Nachbarland

Employer – (der) Arbeitgeber

Lives abroad – wohnt im Ausland 

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Germany reaches agreement on Bürgergeld – with a couple of catches

Members of Germany’s traffic light coalition government and the opposition Christian Democratic Union party have reached an agreement in the dispute over plans for a new citizens‘ income. There will be tougher sanctions against benefit recipients and fewer discretionary assets.

Germany reaches agreement on Bürgergeld - with a couple of catches

Last week, the German government’s plans to reform unemployment benefits with its new “Bürgergeld”, or citizens’ income, proposals were blocked in the Bundesrat.

The legislation was held up mostly by members of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU) which had been strongly opposed to the proposals for a six-month Vertrauenszeit (trust period) in which benefits claimants would not incur sanctions, as well as to the amount of assets recipients would be able to hold on to.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Will Germany’s controversial Bürgergeld still come into force?

On Tuesday, politicians from the traffic light coalition parties and the CDU/CSU reached a compromise on the proposed reforms which means that some of the key measures will be scrapped.

No trust period

The CDU/CSU was able to push through its demand for more sanctions for recipients and the six-month trust period will now be scrapped completely.

Instead, it will be possible to enforce benefit sanctions from the first day of an unemployment benefits claim if recipients don’t apply for a job, or fail to turn up for appointments at the job centre, for example.

The CDU and CSU also demanded that unemployment benefits recipients be allowed to keep less of their own assets when they receive state benefits. The original plan had been for assets worth up to €60,000 to be protected for the first two years, but the compromise reached has knocked this down to €40,000 for one year – during which time benefits recipients will not have to use up their savings.

Following the announcement of the agreement, Green Party later Britta Haßelmann said “I regret it very much”. According to Haßelmann, the trust period was the core of the reform designed to stop people from having to take up “just any job”.

READ ALSO: Bürgergeld: What to know about Germany’s unemployment benefits shake-up

Other traffic light colleagues were more optimistic, however. Katja Mast from the SDP spoke of a “workable compromise in the spirit of the matter,” while FDP Parliamentary Secretary Johannes Vogel said that it had succeeded in “making a good law even better”.

CDU/CSU leader Friedrich Merz, meanwhile, sees the compromise as a great success for his party, though he also praised the willingness of the parties in the government to reach an agreement.

“The coalition was very quick and – to my surprise – very largely willing to make compromises here,” Merz said. 

What happens next?

Tomorrow, the Mediation Committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat will meet to discuss the proposals. If the agreement is confirmed, the welfare reform could clear the final hurdle when it is voted on Bundesrat again at the end of the week. According to the federal government’s plans, if it’s approved, Bürgergeld will come into force in January and replace the current Hartz IV system.