February will witness the implementation of several new regulations in Germany, offering benefits to some but potentially causing inconvenience for others. These changes will have a significant impact on the lives of all workers and consumers. Here are important changes in Germany taking effect in February 2024.
Pay rise for care workers
Starting from February 1, 2024, there will be a substantial salary increase of up to 14 percent for elderly care workers. This is excellent news for the thousands of caregivers dedicated to the well-being of seniors on a daily basis. The minimum hourly wages for geriatric care workers will see an elevation based on their qualifications, ranging from EUR 16.10 to EUR 20.50 gross per hour of work.
Read also: February 2024 Kindergeld and Kinderzuschlag payment dates
Simplification of drug subsidies
If you’ve previously visited a pharmacy with a prescription (or e-prescription), you might have experienced instances where the prescribed medicine package wasn’t available, and only a smaller one was offered. In such situations, there was a requirement to pay a surcharge for each separate package, even when only partial quantities were obtainable.
To streamline this process and eliminate the need for multiple surcharges, upcoming regulations set to take effect in February 2024 stipulate that the surcharge will be contingent on the size of the packaging. This implies that the surcharge will remain consistent, whether you purchase numerous small packs or a single large pack containing the same total amount of medicine.
Read also: Citizen’s Income (Bürgergeld) 2024: What you need to know
Shorter prison sentences for unpaid fines
Starting February 2024, newly enacted regulations will bring about a reduction in substitute penalties for unpaid fines. Historically, individuals unable to satisfy imposed fines faced imprisonment, with each day of the fine translating into one day of incarceration. This practice disproportionately impacted socially marginalized individuals. Consequently, the amendment to the regulations seeks to ameliorate this situation by curtailing substitute penalties. The changes to the Penal Code, initially scheduled for implementation in October of the previous year, have been rescheduled to take effect on February 1, 2024.
New requirements for meat labeling
Starting February 2024, there will be new regulations governing the labeling of the origin of meat sold by weight, applicable to both retail stores and markets. Critical information will include details about the place of breeding and slaughter. In cases where meat predominantly originates from one source but contains small quantities from other locations, accurate labeling is mandated. For minced meat or meat cuts, a simple indication of ‘Raised and slaughtered in the EU’ or ‘outside the EU’ will suffice to comply with the new regulations.
Read also: Germany’s minimum wage to rise in 2024: What you need to know
Lower returns on photovoltaics
In February 2024, there will be an additional adjustment for individuals installing photovoltaic systems in their homes. From February 1, 2024, there will be a reduction in the returns for energy fed into the grid from photovoltaic systems. The energy returns for newly installed systems will decrease by 1 percent every six months. Presently set at 8.2 Ct/kWh, the rate will decrease to 8.1 Ct/kWh from February 1, 2024.
Netflix will stop working on old Sony TVs
By the end of February, Netflix will discontinue its support for Sony HX, EX, and W series TVs manufactured between 2011 and 2013. This adjustment also extends to certain Blu-ray players. Fortuna-tely, affordable alternatives like Google Chromecast, Apple TV, or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick can serve as viable solutions to compensate for the loss of Netflix functionality without necessitating the purchase of a new TV.
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Leap year 2024: February one day longer
The year 2024 is a leap year, making it one day longer than usual. February, in particular, will have 29 days this year. This additional day means that some individuals who have birthdays during this period will finally have the opportunity to celebrate on the exact date of their birth.