For members


Everything that changes in Germany in August 2022

From the €9 ticket and fuel tax cut, to travel chaos, tax deadlines and digital steps forward, here's what's changing in Germany this August.

The town hall clock in Rostock, northern Germany.
The town hall clock in Rostock, northern Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jens Büttner

€9 ticket and fuel tax cut runs out

Germany’s €9 monthly public transport ticket offer continues until the end of August so people will be able to buy and use it for the month before it it’s gone when September starts (sadly).

The fuel tax cut is also in force until the end of August. For petrol, the government-subsidised “tank rebate” is about 30 cents per litre, for diesel about 14 cents per litre. The reduction is limited until August 31st.

No plans have been announced yet to extend these measures. 

Travel chaos continues in Europe

The summer months have been chaotic for travellers, and we have seen examples of airports congested throughout Europe. This will continue during August, as airlines have cancelled more than 25,000 flights from their August schedule. 

In Germany, around 6,000 flights operated by Lufthansa alone have been scrapped from the summer schedule.

More strikes?

German airline giant Lufthansa ground staff staged a one-day strike on Wednesday July 27th. Negotiations between Verdi union and Lufthansa will happen on August 3rd and 4th.

It may be that more strikes are announced if an agreement on pay for the 20,000 ground staff isn’t reached. Keep an eye on The Local’s homepage. 

READ ALSO: Flights disrupted across Germany as Lufthansa strike begins

Travellers queue at terminal 2 of Frankfurt airport on July 23rd.

Travellers queue at terminal 2 of Frankfurt airport on July 23rd. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

August regional holiday

There is only one official holiday in Germany in August – Assumption Day – or Mariä Himmelfahrt – on August 15th. It is a regional holiday for the states of Bavaria and Saarland.

It falls on a Monday, so don’t forget to prepare yourself for it, as most shops and supermarkets will be closed on the holiday and Sunday as well (as they always are in Germany).

Tax deadline

Those who have their tax return for 2020 prepared by a tax advisor or an income tax assistance association still have until August 31st to hand it in.

The deadline was extended again in May to relieve tax advisors who have extra work in their plate with auditing Covid financial assistance during the pandemic period.

READ ALSO: Why people in Germany have longer for their tax returns this year

More transparency in employment contracts

Whether it’s the scope of work, length of probationary period, possible overtime or notice period, employment contracts issued from August 1st onwards must clearly state in writing the working conditions for new jobs.

It must also be documented what wages will be paid, how they will be made up, what further training has been promised, what the shift system and rest breaks will be like, and what applies to the remuneration of overtime, allowances and bonuses.

Information on contracting parties, remuneration and working hours must be provided in writing to new employees no later than the start of employment – all other supporting documents can be given within seven calendar days.

More assistance for students

From August 1st, there will be more BAföG financial assistance for students. The maximum support rate for students will be raised from €861 to €934 per month. The tax-free amount on the parents’ income, which is the basis for calculating the education grant, will also go up. This also increases the group of those eligible for support.

The previous tax-free allowance of €8,200 for the assets of trainees will also be increased – to €15,000 for people up to the age of 29, and to €45,000 from the age of 30. Furthermore, the age limit for BAföG funding will be extended from 30 to 45.

READ ALSO: German students to get higher grants from winter 2022

View of the Martin Luther University (MLU) campus in Halle.

View of the Martin Luther University (MLU) campus in Halle. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hendrik Schmidt

Minimum wage goes up

For stonemasons and people in the stone-sculpting trade, new industry minimum wages will apply from August 1st 2022; instead of €12.85 per hour, employees will get 50 cents more, raising it to €13.35. Independently of this, there is also the German statutory minimum wage, which will increase to €12 in October.

Digital step for founding companies

From August 1st, anyone who wants to establish a GmbH (a company with limited liability) or KG (limited partnership) can do so without having to attend the notarial certification in person – they can also do it via online video communication.

This is regulated by the Act on the Implementation of the Digitalisation Directive (DiRUG). “The parties involved are identified by means of an electronically transmitted photograph in conjunction with an electronic proof of identity, e.g. the German identity card with eID function,” explains the Hanover Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Pupils return to the classroom – or go on holiday

Schools in several states will return after the summer break in August. But the southern states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria are the last to go off on their school holidays – at the end of July and on August 1st respectively.

Cheaper medicines in the pharmacy

Patients who are prescribed biopharmaceuticals (or biologics) by their doctor, which are often used for Crohn’s disease, arthritis or cancer, can be given cheaper medicines of the same type at the pharmacy from August 16th. This is regulated by the “Law for More Safety in the Supply of Medicines”.

The biosimilars, i.e. similar biological medicines, are to come into circulation more quickly, and drug costs are to be reduced. The law is intended to relieve the burden on health insurance companies. The imitation products are produced and tested by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) under strict criteria as soon as the patent for a drug expires, and are considered to be just as effective as the respective original.

General measles vaccination mandate in care facilities applies

Since March 2020, measles vaccinations have been compulsory in communal facilities such as Kindergartens, asylum seekers’ and refugees’ accommodation and in medical facilities – for caregivers and other employees in the facilities.

Those who already worked in one of the above-mentioned facilities before March 2020 were granted a transitional period until July 31st 2022 to present proof of vaccination.

People who do not comply with the vaccination obligation will be banned from care or work from August 1st, and could also face fines of up to €2,500 if they flout the rules. People who cannot get the vaccination for medical reasons and those born before 1971 are exempt from the measles jab mandate.

A vaccination pass with the measles box ticked.

A vaccination pass with the measles box ticked. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Tom Weller

Titanium dioxide banned in food

Titanium dioxide is used as a whitening agent in wall paints, varnishes, cosmetics and medicines. But foodstuffs such as chewing gum, sweets, baked goods, soups and salad dressings also often rely on it, especially in the USA. It’s found on the packaging as the additive E171.

As of August, however, titanium dioxide can no longer be used in food production in Europe. The European Commission imposed the ban because it could not be ruled out that the chemical substances could alter “genetic cell material” and that the food additive could therefore no longer be considered safe. In France, titanium dioxide hasn’t been used in food since 2020.

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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?