As from 2 April, you’ll no longer need to wear mask while shopping or show proof of vaccination, recovery or a test to enter places like cinemas, bars, restaurants and gyms/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Germany: New Laws and Regulations in April 2022

Some important changes in general regulations and laws enter into force in April. For example, many coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions will finally be abolished, people working in nursing care will receive more money and those who move from one place to the other for job-related reasons will be able to make bigger deductions from their taxes, among others.

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COVID-19 restrictions removed
The amended Infection Protection Act has already been in force since 20 March but the federal states were given a two-week transition period to implement the changes, which ends on 2 April.

The law stipulates that states can still order basic protection measures, such as mandatory mask wearing or tests, in hotspots where infection rates are high. New laws do not have to be enacted for this.

Many restrictions imposed in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, such as access restrictions, will largely cease to apply from April.

This means you’ll no longer need to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a test to enter places like cinemas, bars, restaurants and gyms. Only the requirement to wear masks on public transport and planes, in clinics and nursing homes will remain in place.

The coronavirus testing regulation will have expired in March, but the Federal Ministry of Health initiated an amendment to the ordinance at the last minute due to the current high infection rates in the country. Accordingly rapid coronavirus tests will remain free of charge until 30 June 2022.

Also, sick leave can be obtained from the doctor over the phone until the end of May and the corona short-time work (Kurzarbeit) rules, which make it possible for workers on reduced working hours to still receive a major part of their usual salaries, have been extended.

In addition, workers can continue to take 20 days off per year if they have to care for relatives due to a situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Relocation Allowance
Tax-deductible allowance for relocation will increase from 870 euros to 886 euros on 1 April 2022. This is the maximum amount taxpayers can deduct from their taxes if they move for work-related reasons such as relocating closer to their workplace. For each child who moves with them, the state grants a further 590 euros.

Another tax-relevant change is that of the corona bonus, which is no longer tax-free from the beginning of April. The payment, which can amount to up to 1,500 euros, must now be taxed under the relevant labour law.

More pay for public servants and others
Wages and salaries in the public sector at the federal, state and local levels will increase by 1.8 per cent as from April.

There are also increases in the special minimum wage in the nursing care sector: it rises to 12.55 euros for nursing care assistants, 13.20 euros for qualified nursing care assistants and 15.40 euros for nursing care professionals.

Moreover, the minimum wage for temporary work (Zeitarbeit) is now 10.88 euros per hour instead of the previous 10.45 euros.

Changed shop opening hours at Easter
Like in every year, consumers have to do their shopping before the Easter holidays. On Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, retail shops will be closed. However, those who still need groceries for the family celebration can stock up on Easter Saturday. The exact opening hours vary from one federal state to the other.

Femi Awoniyi

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