The port city of Hamburg. From 1 June 2023, new laws take effect in Germany that bring about a number of changes/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

Germany: New Laws and Regulations from June 2023

Like almost every month, June 2023 brings some important changes for people living in Germany. Find out here which concrete changes, including new laws, are coming and what you have to prepare for.

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Refunds for rail delays to become more complicated
On 7 June, a new EU passenger rights regulation will come into force by law.

Consumer advocates criticise that the new regulation will make it more difficult for rail passengers affected by delays to get a refund. Until now, passengers were entitled to a 25 per cent refund for delays of 60 minutes and 50 per cent for delays of 120 minutes.

According to the new regulation, however, these refunds will be null and void under certain circumstances. These include extreme weather conditions, natural disasters or public health crises. Moreover, the fault of the passenger, behaviour of a third party such as trespassing on the tracks, cable theft, emergencies on the train, police operations, sabotage or terrorism will also nullify the claims of rail passengers.

The culture pass for 18-year-olds
Young people who will soon turn 18 can be doubly happy. Not only will they finally be of age, but they will also receive a gift from the state in the form of a voucher worth 200 euros. The so-called culture pass (Kulturpass) can be applied for by new 18-year-olds from mid-June and used, for example, to purchase concert tickets.

The culture pass will give young adults the opportunity to participate in cultural events. The aim of the scheme is to support local events such as concerts, theatre performances and cinema screenings. Providers who want to make their events available through the programme must register with an Elster certificate.

New subsidy programme replaces “Baukindergeld”
Until the end of 2022, the state subsidised families who wanted to build or buy their own home with the so-called “Baukindergeld”. From June 2023, a new support programme will replace this financial support, the “Home Ownership for Families” (“Wohneigentum für Familien”, WEF).

However, families with a low or medium income will no longer receive a subsidy from this year onwards. This is because the WEF is a KfW subsidy based on annual income. In order to receive the new home ownership subsidy, a family must itself occupy the property in question, which must be a new construction or a first purchase. The maximum loan amount is 240,000 euros.

Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof branches close down
In June 2023, numerous branches of Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof will close. The reason is the ongoing insolvency proceedings, which forces the company to close endangered locations. According to news reports, the closure initially affects 19 shops that will close on 30 June 2023.

The locations affected are: Celle, Coburg, Cottbus, Duisburg-Düsseldorfer Straße, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Hamburg-Harburg, Hamburg-Wandsbek, Leverkusen, Munich-Bahnhof, Neuss, Nuremberg-Königstraße, Nuremberg-Langwasser, Offenbach, Paderborn, Regensburg-Neupfarrplatz, Saarbrücken, Siegen, Wiesbaden-Kirchgasse.

Special short-time work scheme ends
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government introduced a special regulation for short-time work, which stipulates that if at least ten per cent of the employees in a company are absent, the employer can easily register for short-time work. This regulation expires on 31 June and, as before the pandemic, short-time work is only available if at least one third (33.3 per cent) of the workforce is affected by a work stoppage.

Corona warning app goes dormant
The Corona warning app has been downloaded over 48 million times in Germany in recent years. After the developers had already switched off the warning function of the app in May, it will now officially be put into sleep mode from 1 June. No more updates will follow and the app will also no longer be available for download in the Android and Apple app stores.

“The reason for the soon to be dormant mode is the increased immunity of the population, a stable infection situation and the return to public life without Corona measures. This currently eliminates the need for a contact tracing app,” the federal government explains in a statement.

Femi Awoniyi


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