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Everything that changes in Germany in November 2019

From invoices to slot machines and patient care, there are a lot of changes in store for people living in Germany in November.

Everything that changes in Germany in November 2019
Get ready for changes in November. Photo: DPA

Holidays in November

In some German states (but not all, unfortunately) workers can expect time off work in November. Right at the start of the month, residents in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland  received an extended weekend on All Saints' Day (Allerheiligen) on November 1st.

One state can also look forward to a holiday on November 20th. The day of Repentance and Prayer (Buß- und Bettag) is a celebrated in Saxony.

Changes to identity card

Since 2017, German citizens have been able to identify themselves online using the online ID card function (eID function) their ID card (Personalausweis).

This card with the eID function can be used to provide a legally binding signature from a distance and it can be used to log in to authorities, insurance companies or for online shopping.

However, this function is not yet accessible to everyone. EU citizens and German nationals living abroad have so far been excluded. This will change in November as the federal government introduces the eID card.

This is a chip card with the most important data such as name, address and date of birth. EU citizens will be able to identify themselves electronically simply and securely. This is necessary, for example, if you want to apply for a certificate of good conduct online or submit a tax return.

Germans living abroad in other countries can also enter their foreign address.

The chip will be issued for ten years. Applicants must be at least 16 years old, reported Focus Online.

Photo: DPA

Car insurance deadline

If you have a car in Germany, you must have insurance for it. But if you'd like to change your car insurance (Kfz-Versicherung) for next year, the deadline to do so is November 30th.

It can be a way to save money if you manage to secure a cheaper tariff.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about getting a German driving license

Bid to improve nursing care

On November 1st, new guidelines for inpatient care and nursing home assessments will come into force.

Up until now, nursing homes have been able to receive top marks from inspectors more easily – even if there was problems in care for individual residents. It made it difficult to find out the standard of care for the some 700,000 residents of nursing homes in Germany.

However, this will change with a new nursing care inspection system. In future, the focus will no longer be on bureaucracy and whether each step has been meticulously documented, but on whether the individual residents are doing well and what risks they face.

Quality and possible grievances will be measured in a two-stage procedure. Nursing homes must regularly collect data such as the frequency of residents' pressure sores, serious fall injuries as well as what they are doing to promote their mobility, independence, communication and social contacts. 

This already came into force in October, but from November, nursing homes now have to collect data on each resident every six months and report the results to a data centre.

In addition, auditors from statutory and private health insurance companies are to examine the quality of the individual homes on 24 aspects every 14 months. They will also evaluate the data collected.

READ ALSO: Explained: How Germany plans to fight its drastic shortage of care workers

Boost for employees

It's good news for around 60,000 employees in the electrical trade sector in Baden-Württemberg: they will receive more money from November. The electrical engineering and information technology trade association, which is responsible for the employers' side, and the IG Metall trade union were able to come to an agreement with employers.

Accordingly, the salaries of employees in the industry will rise by 3.9 percent in the future. Apprentices will receive €60 more per month – which, according to IG Metall, corresponds to a pay increase of between six and eight percent. The new contract will initially run until the end of March 2021.

Cutting down on paperwork

Germany is on the road to becoming more digitized. Photo: DPA

German bureaucracy can be one of the most difficult things to deal with when you move to the Bundesrepublik. But a new law is changing the way bills are received and processed.

So for all those who issue invoices to the authorities, it's going to get bit easier next month. Since November 27th 2018, the highest federal authorities and constitutional bodies have had to accept and process electronic invoices. And from November 27th 2019, all other federal contracting authorities will also be obliged to do so.

The last step of the e-invoicing regulation will then come into force next year. From November 2020, all companies working with the public sector will also be obliged to issue invoices electronically. The aim is to reduce bureaucracy and modernize administration.

The regulation is based on a German law, but is ultimately based on European regulations. Invoices are transmitted via an administrative portal for which companies and suppliers must register with a user account.

Less slot machines allowed in pubs

In the fight against gambling addictions in Germany, an amendment to the gambling regulation (Spielverordnung) comes into force in November.

So far, operators of pubs, betting shops or restaurants have been allowed to set up three gaming machines per location. This is to change in the course of a new regulation. As of November 10th, only two machines will be allowed per location.

Major climate strike

Fridays for Future is planning strikes in Germany as part of Global Climate Strike Day on November 29th.

The alliance announced that activists from more than a hundred cities had announced actions on this date before the start of the World Climate Conference in Chile. In addition to strikes, “creative protests” are also planned in Germany and worldwide.

Bargains for shoppers

If you fancy some retail therapy, don't forget that Black Friday and Cyber Monday is approaching: Amazon, Ebay and numerous other retailers are set to offer heavy discounts.

Black Friday is on November 29th and Cyber Monday is on December 2nd.

There are new rules on the amount of slot machines in venues in Germany. Photo: DPA

Update imminent for Windows 10

The second major Windows 10 update this year is about to be released. According to Microsoft, the new update will come out on November 12th, which is a bit later than originally planned.

The update should not only make Windows 10 easier to use – Microsoft has also made some technical improvements and changes to the user interface.

Gamers take note

Google's cloud gaming streaming service Stadia is scheduled to launch in Germany on November 19th. With Stadia, video games no longer have to run on home computers or consoles. Instead, users can stream them directly from the cloud via the Internet at the push of a button.

The games run on specialized servers from Google and can be played by users on many different devices without lots of hardware requirements.

 
 

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN GERMANY

Everything that changes in Germany in October 2022

From a nationwide public holiday and new Covid rules to changes surrounding mini and midi jobs, here's what's happening in Germany this October.

Everything that changes in Germany in October 2022

Reunification Day

Germany will celebrate the Day of German Unity, or Tag der deutschen Einheit, on Monday October 3rd.

It marks the day that the the German Democratic Republic (GDR) officially ceased to exist as a sovereign state and rejoined the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990. Since then, Germany has been reunited as the Bundesrepublik and the date is celebrated every year with a holiday in every federal state.

This year it’s 32 years since east and west reunified. Because it’s a public holiday, most workplaces as well as shops and other businesses are closed. 

READ ALSO: Which public holidays are coming up in Germany?

New Covid rules

A new set of Covid rules based on the amended Infection Protection Act will come into force from October 1st. 

The rules will apply until April 7th next year. We have a short round up of some of the bigger changes below, but check out our key points article for more information. 

READ ALSO: Key points – Germany’s new Covid rules from October

Mask mandate changes

Under the new regulations, people travelling on long-distance trains in Germany will have to wear an FFP2 mask if they are over the age of 14. Children aged between six and 13, can wear a surgical mask.

A mask mandate is also in force nationwide in hospitals, nursing homes and doctors’ offices. In nursing homes and clinics, a negative Covid test has to also be shown when visiting. 

Masks will no longer have to be worn, however, on flights to and from and within Germany. 

Further requirements, such as the obligation to wear masks in shops, restaurants or event rooms, can be imposed by the federal states – depending on the incidence of infection. Tests may be required in schools and daycare centres.

States are expected to continue with the mask mandate order on local public transport.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach holds an FFP2 mask

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach holds an FFP2 mask. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler

Covid safety plans at work – but no mandatory ‘home office’

Employers do not have to offer their staff the opportunity to work from home. But bosses should consider this, as well as regular Covid testing, as an option for employees as part of Covid safety plans. 

A draft law by Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), which called for mandatory home office rule during the winter months to help with the Covid situation, was toned down after coalition partners, the FDP pushed for a change.

Vaccination status changes

There are changes coming up when it comes to what counts as being fully vaccinated in Germany. In general, people will need three jabs to be classed as fully vaccinated from October. 

Vaccination certificates issued after two shots will only be considered as proof of full vaccination until September 30th. Beginning October 1st, a booster jab (i.e., a 3rd vaccination) is generally required to be considered “fully vaccinated”. Alternatively, two vaccinations and proof of recovery from Covid-19 will also qualify. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s planned changes to Covid vaccination status

However, keep in mind that there is no planned vaccination/test requirement to enter indoor public areas in Germany – previously known as the 3G or 2G rules.

If a German state government imposes a mask requirement indoors, then people simply need to wear a mask to enter indoor settings such as bars, restaurants, cultural and recreational venues. People who present a negative Covid test would be exempt from wearing a mask. However, regions can also choose to exempt the freshly vaccinated or recently recovered people from the mask requirement. In that case, people would have to show proof. However, not all states have to bring in this exception.

A person is considered recovered from the 29th day after detection of infection and for a maximum of 90 days. The ‘recovery’ proof can be provided by a PCR test.

Mini-jobbers can earn more

On October 1st, the upper earnings limit for people with so-called mini-jobs will rise from €450 to €520 per month. There will also be changes for employees in midi-jobs, who were previously allowed to earn between €450 and €1,300 per month: the limit will shift to between €520 and €1,600 from October.

READ ALSO: The rules in Germany around mini and midi jobs

A member of staff at a cafe in Stuttgart.

A member of staff at a cafe in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Weißbrod

Minimum wage boost

On October 1st, the statutory minimum wage in Germany will be raised to €12 per hour. It was raised to €10.45 at the beginning of July.

VAT on gas usage to be slashed

Energy prices are currently going through the roof. As a result, the German government has decided to reduce the VAT rate on gas consumption from 19 to 7 percent. The reduction in VAT was intended to offset the controversial gas levy – however, that levy is being shelved. 

READ ALSO:

Property tax deadline 

From 2025, a new property tax calculation will apply in Germany. For this to happen, almost 36 million properties in Germany are being revalued on the basis of information that owners submit.

That means people owning property in Germany have to submit a new declaration to the tax office based on values as of January 1st 2022. Owners have until October 31st of this year to send in updated information electronically via the Elster portal to the tax office.

Commercial tax programmes that offer an interface to Elster can also be used. People who do not have Internet access can also have the declaration prepared by relatives. In exceptional cases, a declaration in paper form is also possible by making a request at the tax office.

READ ALSO: The German property tax declaration owners need to know about

An aerial view of flats in Munich.

An aerial view of flats in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

An extra hour in bed

Don’t forget that the clocks go back this October. 

During the night from Saturday October 29th to Sunday October 30th, clocks in Germany will be set to winter time. At 3am the clock will go back one hour, to Central European Time (CET).

The good news is that we all get an extra hour of sleep (or partying). The bad news is that it’s going to get darker earlier in the evening. 

Driving test questions

People learning to drive in Germany will see a few changes. Starting October 1st, the questions for the theoretical driver’s license exam will change. New questions will be added, while older questions revised. In total, the test contains 52 questions.

No more WhatsApp for older iPhones

From October 24th, the messenger service WhatsApp will no longer be supported on Apple smartphones with an iOS operating system 10 and 11. Apple users must have at least iOS 12 installed from this date to continue using WhatsApp.

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