For members


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.

An alarm clock lies in the leaves.
An alarm clock lies in the leaves. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Sebastian Kahnert

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. 


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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For members


Elterngeld: The planned changes to parental allowance in Germany

Germany is planning to cut entitlement to Elterngeld for higher earners - but after an uproar, fewer people will be affected. Here's a look at the latest planned changes.

Elterngeld: The planned changes to parental allowance in Germany

What is parental allowance?

Germany has a parental leave system known in German as Elternzeit with the option to apply for up to 14 months of Elterngeld or parental allowance.

Unlike Mutterschutz (maternity leave), which is only for mothers in the run-up to and after the birth of their child, Elterngeld is an allowance of paid time off that both parents can split however they choose. 

Elterngeld usually makes up 65 percent of the parent’s previous net income, up to €1,800 per month and a minimum of €300.

But the German government decided in summer to cut entitlement to this allowance in order to make savings. 

How is the allowance going to change?

At the moment, couples in Germany can receive parental allowance up to a combined annual taxable income of €300,000. 

Under initial government plans, this limit was set to fall to €150,000 for couples, meaning those earning a combined income over that limit would not receive parental allowance.

However, the plans received a barrage of criticism from higher earners. 

READ ALSO: ‘A horrible idea’: How cuts to Elterngeld will affect families

Under pressure to rethink the plans, the coalition then agreed in November that it would be lowered gradually – and not as much as originally planned. The limit will first drop from €300,000 to €200,000 and then to €175,000.

The limit for single parents – currently at €250,000 – will be lowered to €150,000.

Tens of thousands of families are likely to lose their entitlement to parental allowance under the plans. 

Last year, according to Germany’s Statistical Office, 1.8 million in Germany received Elterngeld, the majority of them women (just under 1.4 million).

What is the timescale for this?

Nothing will change for parents whose babies are born by March 31st 2024. From April 1st, 2024, however, the new €200,000 limit will apply for couples, and the €150,000 limit for single parents.

The new limit of €175,000 will apply to couples whose baby is born from April 1st, 2025. The limit of €150,000 for single parents will remain at that level. 

“By delaying the reduction, we give families more time to adjust to the changes,” said Felix Döring, a Social Democrat who is part of the government team working on the changes.

A baby lying down

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

Are there changes to the so-called ‘partner months’ ?

Yes. Up to now, couples have been able to receive standard parental allowance for a maximum of 14 months and can freely combine this. 

They can take turns, so that one stays at home for nine months and the other for the rest of the time, for example.

So far, it has also been possible for both parents to take a career break for seven months to care for the child and receive parental allowance at the same time.

However, this will no longer be allowed for parents of children born from April 1st 2024. on the plans.

READ ALSO: What families in Germany need to know about Kindergeld’s replacement from 2025

Elterngeld will remain at 14 months in total, “but staying at home together and receiving parental allowance at the same time should only be possible for one month within the first 12 months of the child’s life”, reported German media wire DPA. 

However, this change will not apply to couples who give birth to more than one baby at the same time, and premature babies. 

What else should I keep in mind?

As things stand, these are the current plans but there is a budget crisis ongoing in Germany.

That means that the budget for next year is still up in the air so it’s not impossible for there to be some changes as the government tries to save money. 

READ ALSO: What happens if Germany can’t decide on a budget for 2024?