Like almost every month, April 2023 brings some important changes for people living in Germany. Most are positive changes but there are also some inconveniences for rail passengers. Among other things, the advance sale of the much-awaited 49-Euro-Ticket will commence, the few remaining COVID-19 rules will expire, more pay for temporary workers and some routes of the Deutsche Bahn will be closed for construction work. Here’s an overview of what you should expect in April.
More pay for temporary workers
The statutory minimum wage for temporary and contract workers will rise from April: it will increase from 13.32 euros to 14.55 euros in the lowest pay group and from 23.72 euros to 25.14 euros in the highest pay group.
Painters and varnishers will also benefit from a higher statutory minimum wage. From April, they will receive 14.50 euros per hour instead of 13.80 euros. Helpers in the painting and varnishing trade will receive at least 12.50 euros.
Workers in the main construction trades can also look forward to more money. For them, the collective agreement provides for a wage increase on 1 April – by 2 per cent in the West and 2.7 per cent in the East. In addition, the workers will receive a lump sum for travelling to the construction site. The amount depends on the distance.
49-Euro-Ticket: Advance sales start
From 1 May 2023, the much-awaited 49-Euro-Ticket will be valid on local and regional transport throughout Germany. Advance sale of the monthly ticket will commence on 3 April 2023.
From May onwards, you can use local public transport all over Germany – if you have the 49-Euro-Ticket. The ticket, which is intended to be a financial relief for many rail passengers and commuters, will be available online and at all usual points of sale.
The 49-euro ticket is only available as a monthly subscription. This means that it is automatically renewed if you do not cancel it in time. However, you can do this every month.
The ticket will be available as a chip card or as a mobile phone ticket. Some transport companies will also offer the paper form for a period of time.
COVID-19 rules expire
The few COVID-19 regulations still in force will end on 7 April if the federal government does not decide to extend them by then. These include the nationwide obligation to wear an FFP2 mask in clinics, nursing homes and doctors’ offices. The possibility for the federal states to enact more extensive regulations also expires at the beginning of April.
Sick leave by telephone no longer possible
From 1 April, it will no longer be possible to take sick leave by phone for minor cold complaints. The special regulation introduced during the pandemic was intended to reduce unnecessary contacts and prevent infections.
However, since the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s public authority for disease control, downgraded the risk assessment for the country from high to moderate at the beginning of February, the rule is now expiring. However, it should be possible to reactivate it quickly if necessary. Video consultations can be an alternative
Railway closes important routes
Some rail passengers will have to prepare for longer journeys during the Easter holidays. This is because one of the most important connections in the western Ruhr region in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia will be closed for a fortnight for construction work. The ICE line between Berlin and Hanover will also be repaired from then on.
According to Deutsche Bahn, all train services between Essen and Duisburg will be suspended from 9 p.m. on 31 March until 14 April. Further east between Essen, Bochum and Dortmund as well as between Düsseldorf and Duisburg, many trains will also be cancelled.
Important long-distance services as well as 14 local services will be affected. Some rail passengers will have to accept long diversions by train or change to much slower buses. ICEs and ICs will not stop in Mülheim/Ruhr, Essen and Bochum. In Duisburg, some long-distance trains are cancelled – for example those between Düsseldorf and Berlin.
From 1 April, the railways will also be renovating the important east-west connection between Berlin and Hanover for three months. This will initially lead to delays in the direction of Berlin, as trains will be diverted via Magdeburg.
From the beginning of May, travellers in the opposite direction will also be affected. Commuters to Wolfsburg will have to change trains in Hanover. In addition, the Berlin-Cologne Sprinter will be cancelled in both directions.
Microsoft raises prices
Microsoft is increasing the prices for its cloud services from 1 April. The company will charge eleven percent more for such products as Microsoft 365, Office 365, Dynamics 365 as well as Microsoft Teams and Decents.
The increases are as a result of the company’s decision to its aligned its prices worldwide. In addition, the company links its prices to the US dollar exchange rate and wants to adjust them every six months.
The new prices apply immediately to new customers and contract renewals. According to the company’s official information, the price increase will not apply to existing contracts.