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Germany: Changes that have been in effect from May

From 1 May, several regulations and changes have been coming into force in Germany that affect the everyday life of many citizens. Many people might not have taken note but here is a break down of those changes that are in effect.

No crediting of supplementary income against short-time work compensation

Previously, anyone who was employed in a sideline job in addition to the short-time working allowance was credited the full amount of additional income. Accordingly, there was less short-time work compensation. This regulation will now be dropped temporarily. Therefore short-time workers can earn additional money without their short-time allowance being affected.

Read more information on German Laws and legislation here: Legal News and Guides – Germany

Extension of unemployment benefit

There is relief for the unemployed. All those whose unemployment benefit would expire between 1 May and 31 December will receive benefits for three months longer.

Higher minimum wages

Binding industry-wide minimum wages are now being introduced in nursing care for the elderly and outpatients. Wages for nursing assistants will be increased in four steps to 12.55 euros per hour in East and West Germany by 1. April 2022. Qualified nursing assistants will then receive 13.20 Euro per hour nationwide, nursing assistants 15.40 Euro per hour.

The minimum wage is also increasing in other sectors. For example, unskilled workers in the painting and varnishing trade will in future receive an hourly wage of 11.10 euros instead of 10.85 euros. For journeymen the minimum wage rises to 13.50 euros. Employees in the stonemasonry and stone sculpture trades will no longer earn 11.85 euros per hour from 1 May onwards, but 12.20 euros.

Ban on menthol cigarettes

For some smokers there is a radical change. The EU-wide ban on menthol cigarettes will come into force in May. Those who still want to stock up on supplies had until the 20th of the month to do so. Then the sale of these cigarettes, which are considered to be gateway cigarettes, will end.

Postage becomes cheaper

From 1 May onwards, sending parcels and packages will become cheaper. Although the Post Office had increased postage at the beginning of the year, it has since taken it back after a dispute with the Federal Network Agency. As of 1 May, therefore, the old branch and online prices for private customers will apply again. For example, a small parcel weighing up to two kilos will cost 4.50 euros instead of the current 4.79 euros.