For members


Everything that changes in Germany in July 2022

From energy relief measures and an increase in the minimum wage to rules for making it easier to cancel contracts online, here's what's changing in Germany this July.

A cuckoo clock in Schonach, Baden-Württemberg.
A cuckoo clock in Schonach, Baden-Württemberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Philipp von Ditfurth

No more free rapid Covid tests for all

Taxpayer-funded Covid-19 rapid tests or Bürgertests are no longer free for everyone. Under the Health Ministry’s plans, the tests will cost €3, however, some groups of people will still get them for free. 


Financial relief for families

As part of the government’s energy relief package, the Kinderbonus will be paid out to families in July. Each child entitled to child benefit will receive a one-time bonus of €100.

Due to inflation and rapidly rising food prices, recipients of social assistance benefits, Hartz-IV and asylum benefits will also get a cash boost in July. They will receive two payments of €100 each and their children €20 each.

€9 ticket and fuel tax cut continues

Germany’s €9 monthly public transport ticket offer continues until the end of August so people will be able to buy a ticket and use it in July. Similarly, the fuel tax cut is in force until the end of August. 

A Covid test centre in Rostock.

A Covid test centre in Rostock. Rapid tests will no longer be free for all from July. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Wüstneck

End of the EEG levy 

The Russian war on Ukraine is causing energy prices to rocket upwards. To help people in Germany deal with the price hikes, the coalition government in Germany has decided to abolish the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) charge.

The EEG levy is a green tax that has been used to fund investment in solar and wind power as part of the energy transition. Until January 1st, 2022, it added 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour to people’s energy bills, but at the start of the year, it was reduced to 3.72 cents per kilowatt hour.

From July people in Germany will no longer have to pay the levy. However, It’s not clear whether this will really save consumers much money, due to energy costs going up significantly. 

READ ALSO: Will German energy bills really come down soon?

Increase in the minimum wage

As Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats promised before the German federal election last year, the minimum wage is being raised this year. It is to be gradually increased to €12 by October 2022. In January the minimum wage rose to €9.82, in July it will rise to €10.45.

More financial relief measures come into force in Germany in July.

More financial relief measures come into force in Germany in July. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jonas Walzberg

Pension increase

People who receive pensions in Germany will get more money from July. In the states that formerly comprised West Germany, pensions will rise by 5.35 percent, in the former East German states by 6.12 percent. The German pension insurance fund says it is one of the highest adjustments since the introduction of pension insurance.

School holidays continue 

More schools in German states are finishing up for the summer. After schools in North Rhine-Westphalia broke up in June, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are next, followed by Hamburg, Berlin and Brandenburg on the Wednesday after (July 6th).

The southern states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria will be the last to go off on their school holidays – at the end of July and on August 1st respectively.

Pfand scheme extended 

From July, a 25-cent deposit or Pfand will be charged on more plastic bottles and drink cans. Due to the amendment of the Packaging Act, bottled fruit drinks such as orange juice as well as mixed alcoholic beverages will have to be recycled in future. Under plans to extend the scheme further, milk is set to be charged a Pfand from 2024. 

The regulation has been in effect since January 2022, but retailers were granted a transitional period until July 2022 to implement the change.

Get rid of old electrical appliances

From July, many large supermarkets and discount chains – including Aldi, Rewe and Edeka – will accept old electrical goods. People will be able to hand in products such as old mobile phones, electric razors, kettles and toasters free of charge. 

A kettle stands in a kitchen. Get rid of your old appliances at German supermarkets soon.

A kettle stands in a kitchen. Get rid of your old appliances at German supermarkets soon. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Andrea Warnecke

Driving licence deadline approaching

German people born between 1953 and 1958 and who have a paper driving licence issued before 1999 have to exchange it for a digital one or face a warning fine. The deadline for the exchange was originally planned for January, but due to the pandemic, it was extended to July 19th.

The cost of the exchange is €25.50. To apply for the EU driving licence, a valid identity card, the old driving licence and a biometric passport photo is needed. There is no extra driving or health test involved.

READ ALSO: Drivers in Germany given extension to exchange driving licence 

New rent law comes into force

As of July, tenants and landlords will have to provide information on rental prices if they are asked to by authorities. This is to enable a comparison of rents, especially in large cities. Tenants and landlords will be selected at random. Those who refuse to provide information can face a fine of up to €5,000.

Extension of tobacco tax

At the start of 2022, tobacco tax was increased and the price of cigarettes went up. As of July, this also applies to shisha tobacco and liquids for e-cigarettes.

Cancellations of contracts online to become easier

Since the beginning of the year, consumers in Germany have been able to terminate rolling contracts more easily. And people who have concluded a contract online should also be able to terminate it online in future under new laws. 

From July onwards, firms have to include a cancellation button on websites where contracts can be concluded. If this is not the case, the consumer has the right to terminate the contract without notice.

READ ALSO: How Germany is making it easier to cancel contracts 

Cost of sending packages goes up

Anyone who wants to send parcels or packages with DHL from July onwards will unfortunately have to dig further into their pockets. The rises apply to domestic and international shipments. DHL said the price hikes are because of the rise in transport, delivery and labour costs.

READ ALSO: What to know about German parcel delivery hikes

Tax deadline extended

One last point – self-submitted tax returns in Germany were due to be sent to the tax office by the end of July. However, the deadline has been extended until the end of October, giving people more time. 

READ ALSO: Why people in Germany have longer to do their tax return this year

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For members


Everything that changes in Germany in April 2024

From more restrictions on receiving Elterngeld (parental allowance) to cannabis legalisation to higher heating costs, there are many changes coming to Germany at the start of the new month on Easter Monday.

Everything that changes in Germany in April 2024

Partial legalisation of cannabis to be allowed

After much debate, Germany’s controversial cannabis act was officially signed into law on Friday, March 22nd. As of April 1st, the new law will allow possession of up to 25 grams for personal consumption from the age of 18, and cultivation of up to three cannabis plants in one’s own home with up to 50 grams of cannabis for personal use.

It will also permit so-called ‘cannabis social clubs’, or non-commercial cultivation associations with a strict set of rules. For example, no smoking is allowed on site, and members can’t grow more than 50 grams per month.

READ ALSO: Germany gives green light to partially legalise cannabis from April

New rules to to receive Elterngeld

New parents who go on Elternzeit (parental leave) will as of April 1st only be able to receive Elterngeld (parental allowance) if they have a joint household income of lower than €200,000. The threshold, reduced from the previous €300,000 in order to trim Germany’s 2024 budget, applies to couples. As of next year, the threshold is set to sink further.

As of April 1st, parents are also no longer able to take Elternzeit together for as long and receive Elterngeld at the same time.Although the previous 14 months of standard Elterngeld will remain, from April it will only be possible to stay at home with your partner for one month of this and receive Elterngeld at the same time – and only in the first year of their child’s life.

There will be exceptions for multiple births, premature babies and children with disabilities.

READ ALSO: Elterngeld: How Germany is changing the rules around parental allowance

New fuels at petrol stations 

Germany wants to become climate-neutral, and new and more environmentally friendly diesel fuels are to help it eventually achieve this goal. Several new alternatives are to be introduced at filling stations in the spring: the first two, B10 and XTL, could be officially available as early as April. Before car owners lift the nozzle, however, they should find out whether their Auto can even tolerate these fuels.

Higher heating costs

From April 1, VAT on gas and district heating will be increased from the reduced rate of seven percent back to the original rate of 19 percent. In Germany, the rate was temporarily reduced as part of a comprehensive relief package to ease the financial burden on people living here. It went into effect on October 1st 2022, as many people struggled with rising energy costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Energy bill

Energy costs in Germany went up quickly following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Jens Büttner

Many new driving test questions

Anyone taking their theoretical test to get a German driver’s licence on or after April 1st has a bit more prep work to do. There will be a total of 61 more questions added to the test, both for a regular licence and several special categories. 

‘Blitzermarathon’ hunts down speeders

Anyone on the road can expect more speed checks and speed traps as part of the European Speedweek from April 15th to 21st, 2024 (Monday to Sunday). 

This includes the speed camera marathon (Blitzermarathon) on Friday, April 19th. So drivers, be sure to take your foot off the gas and keep an eye on the speedometer. Otherwise you’ll lose money and possibly even your license.

New Deutschlandticket for students 

Starting with the new semester in April, many universities in Germany will be offering their students the Deutschlandticket for nationwide public transport for €29.40 per month.

The ticket, which normally costs €49, allows for unlimited travel on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and regional trains.

Qualification allowance

The so-called qualification allowance (Qualifizierungsgeld), which will be available from April 1st, is intended to provide employees with financial support to participate in further training measures. It acts as a kind of wage replacement so that employees can be released from work and continue their training while keeping their job.

The aim is to increase employees’ professional skills and adaptability and to prepare them for any changes in their field of work. The grant facilitates access to further vocational training and is intended to help secure and improve employability.

READ ALSO: What is Germany’s ‘qualification allowance’ to upskill employees?

Mobility allowance for trainees

From April, Azubis (short for Auszubildende, or trainees getting their official qualification) whose company is far away from their place of residence will be entitled to a mobility allowance. Two family trips home per month will be covered in the first year of training.

The allowance is primarily intended to cover the mobility needs of people who need more money for professional, social or health reasons.

Students and trainees in Germany will soon have more affordable mobility options. Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

Minimum wage increases in two sectors

As of April, painters or varnishers who have completed an Ausbildung (training) in their fields will receive at least €15 per hour, while unskilled workers in this sector will get at least €13 per hour.

For security staff at airports in Bavaria (except Munich Airport), Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, the minimum wage will rise to €18.32 if they have passed the official examination to become an aviation security screener. All other security staff will then receive €16.95.

The general minimum wage in Germany is currently €12.41 per hour.

New international train routes connecting Germany with Austria and Italy

Starting April 8th, the first of a series of new trains from Austrian national railways (ÖBB) will operate on routes such as Munich-Innsbruck-Bolzano, and Munich-Innsbruck.

ÖBB promises passengers a superior travel experience with upgraded amenities, including multi-adjustable seats with increased privacy, additional storage options, integrated charging stations, and improved signage for easier navigation.

Gatorade returns to Germany

Especially American readers will know of the brightly coloured sports drink Gatorade. For better or worse, it’s making its return to German shelves after a 15 year absence, with the flavours lemon, orange, “cool blue” and “tropical burst” to be available in some supermarkets starting in April.

Upcoming public holidays 

It’s no April Fool’s Joke: The first day of the month (Easter Monday) is a national public holiday. And while that’s the only official extra day off work during April, employees can enjoy an extra long night out on Tuesday, April 30th, sans guilt. That’s because Wednesday, May 1st, is Labour Day, another public holiday across Germany.

READ ALSO: What days will workers in Germany get off in 2024?