This Deutsche Bahn has published its 2023/2024 winter timetable, which brings many changes including increase in fares/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Germany: New Laws and Other Changes in December 2023

As with every new month, December 2023 brings a number of changes for people living in Germany. Two groups of people can be particularly pleased, as they will receive more money in the new month. Deutsche Post has published tips on when Christmas presents should be sent and the Deutsche Bahn has also published its Winter Timetable. You can find out more about these and other important changes in December here:

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Minimum wage in care sector increases

The minimum wage for unskilled workers in the care sector will rise to 14.15 euros from 1 December from the previous 13.90 euros. For care workers with at least one year of training, the minimum wage will be raised to 15.25 euros (previously 14.90 euros), and to 18.25 euros (previously 17.65 euros) for skilled care workers. This applies in care organisations. For employment in private households, the statutory minimum wage of twelve euros still applies.

More citizen’s allowance by the end of the year

In December 2023, the increased Citizen’s Income (Bürgergeld) for 2024 will be paid out for the first time: the standard rate will be increased by 12.2 per cent. For single people, this means an increase of 61 euros to a total standard rate of 563 euros. The payment is scheduled to take place on 29 December 2023.

Deutsche Bahn publishes winter timetable

Deutsche Bahn (German Railway) has published its 2023/2024 winter timetable. This will come into force on 10 December; for some connections, only the departure and arrival times will change; for others, entire routes will be rescheduled.

The most important changes at a glance:

  • More trains will run on the routes between Berlin and Munich, Hamburg and Magdeburg, Berlin and Cologne, Magdeburg and Rostock and Nuremberg and Leipzig.
  • There will be a new stop in Stendal on the route between Hamburg and Magdeburg.
  • On the route between Nuremberg and Leipzig, the stations Rudolstadt and Ludwigstadt will be added to long-distance services.
  • Night trains will run from Berlin to Paris and to Brussels. Initially, the trains will run three times a week to Belgium and France.

In addition, Deutsche Bahn intends to use more newer train models. Between North Rhine-Westphalia, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich, for example, the ICE3neo will run more frequently. Newer trains will also gradually be used on other routes.

Just in time for the Deutsche Bahn timetable change on 10 December, some prices will also be increased. According to the company, the Bahncard 25, Bahncard 100, flex fares and route tickets will be 4.9 per cent more expensive on average. Tip on the company’s website: “If you book your journey before or on 9 December, you can still travel at the old prices.”

Check your utility bill carefully in December!

Thanks to the rise in energy prices, some tenants could receive a hefty bill in December. This is because December is the last month for the utility bill for 2022, which landlords must submit to their tenants by 31 December.

Due to the skyrocketing energy prices in the past year, many households could be faced with a high additional payment. It is therefore particularly important for tenants to check the bill carefully.

Send gifts in good time for the festive season!

Anyone sending Christmas greetings by post should not do so too late. These are the Deutsche Post delivery deadlines to ensure that your mail arrives before the festive season:

  • Letters and postcards within Germany by 21 December
  • Letters and postcards within Europe by 13 December
  • Letters and postcards outside Europe by 6 December
  • Packages and parcels within Germany until 20 December
  • Packages and parcels within Europe by 14 December for neighbouring countries (earlier deadlines for other countries)
  • Packages and parcels outside Europe by 28 November
    Tip: Items must be handed in before the collection times at the branch or when the letterbox is emptied.

Mandatory nutritional information for wine

What exactly is in wine and sparkling wine? And how many calories does it contain? Until now, consumers have generally not been able to find this out from the information on the label. From 8 December, there will be an obligation to provide proof of ingredients, nutritional information and allergens. The new regulation implements an EU directive. This will however apply to products made after 8 December.

Femi Awoniyi


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