Germany: New laws and other legal changes in June 2021

Every month there are new laws and other legal changes. June 2021 is no different. Whether it’s about the coronavirus vaccination, VAT increase, government subsidies for businesses and self-employed persons, the digital vaccination certificate, your Microsoft account or even travelling with the ICE, we have all the important changes for you here:

Prioritisation for vaccination
From 7 June, there will no longer be a prioritisation of groups for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination in Germany. Accordingly, anyone above 12 years of age who is willing to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can be vaccinated – regardless of whether they belong to a risk group or have a pre-existing medical condition.

The priority lists, according to age, diseases and occupation, which were introduced at the start of vaccination campaign will no longer apply in doctors’ practices and vaccination centres.

However, until sufficient vaccine is available for all those willing to be vaccinated, some federal states will continue to prioritise vaccination at their vaccination centres after 7 June. In Hamburg, for example, vaccination will, for the time being, continue to consider membership of risk groups.

So far, 43.9 percent of the population has been given at least one dose, and 18.8 percent fully vaccinated.

Negative test and quarantine obligation for return travellers
There will be legal changes affecting travellers entering Germany from coronavirus risk areas. Until now, travellers have to present a negative coronavirus test result not later than 48 hours after arrival, and they were also subject to compulsory quarantine. These requirements expire on 30 June 2021.

VAT on restaurant food
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, on-site food in restaurants was only taxed at 7 per cent VAT instead of 19 per cent. As from 30 June 2021, eating out will thus become more expensive again when VAT rate rises back to 19 per cent.

Deadline for Corona Bonus
The option for employers to pay employees a tax-free pandemic bonus expires this month. The special payment, which can be up to 1,500 euros, must be processed latest by 30 June 2021.
So, if you are one of the lucky ones who have benefited from this scheme, congratulations! If you haven’t received a bonus yet, your boss doesn’t have much time left.

Corona aid package for businesses
The federal government’s aid programme for businesses – including the Bridging Assistance III (Überbrückungshilfe III), expires on 30 June. Similarly, the Corona aid package for start-ups and small medium-sized enterprises will expire on 30 June. It is not yet known whether there will be an extension.

Moreover, under the government relief measures for the private sector, solo entrepreneurs have the option of receiving Neustarthilfe, a one-time lump sum for operating costs of up to a maximum of 7,500 euros instead of fixed costs reimbursement. However, this is only valid until 30 June too. If you have not yet applied for the aid, now is your last chance.

Corona warning app digital vaccination certificate
The long-awaited digital vaccination certificate will be available at the end of June. What does it do? It is a digital proof of vaccination, showing when you were vaccinated and with which vaccine. And it’s intended to give those affected the opportunity to quickly prove in a forgery-proof manner that they can once again enjoy certain basic rights, for example, when travelling on holiday.

The smartphone app “CovPass”, issued by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and which will be rolled out before the summer holidays, will certify full vaccination protection and display official negative Corona test results. In addition, the smartphone app will also serve as proof of a survived coronavirus infection for those who have recovered.

However, it should also be possible to display the digital vaccination certificate on other apps, including the federal government’s Corona warning app, which has already been downloaded 27.5 million times.
How can you use it? Just install the app on your smartphone, scan the vaccination code on your vaccination certificate and you can prove that you have been vaccinated.

The digital vaccination certificate is issued by doctors, vaccination centres and hospitals that vaccinate. It should be especially helpful on holiday because it is valid throughout the EU. If someone does not have a smartphone or cannot save the certificate, it can also be obtained in paper form.

Deutsche Bahn launches extra-long trains
Train passengers can expect more comfort in XXL format in the new month. From 13 June 2021, Deutsche Bahn plans to send new extra-long ICE trains onto the rails.

The special feature of the ICE 4 XXL is that it has 12-13 carriages and 830-918 seats. The 7-wagon ICE 4s that have been in service so far, on the other hand, only have 444 seats.

The first extra-long ICE 4 XXL with 918 seats in 13 carriages on a length of 374 metres will start from Hamburg in the direction of Chur in Switzerland.

For the time being, however, it will remain a test run: Deutsche Bahn’s XXL trains are expected to run regularly from September 2021.

Microsoft service contract
On 15 June there will be a change in the Microsoft service contract. What does this mean? It is relevant if you want to delete your Microsoft account. Until now, you could only delete your Microsoft account after a 60-day transition period. Now you can do that immediately, but you can also wait 30 or 60 days – it’s up to you.

The other change concerns private Microsoft customers using their account for commercial purposes. Microsoft has built a clause into its service contract that makes it possible for the corporation to claim damages if the account has not been used according to its terms. The home version of Microsoft products should therefore not be used for business purposes.

Femi Awoniyi

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