Berlin's governing mayor, Franziska Giffey (a member of the SPD), visiting a factory in Berlin. The SPD has long advocated for a minimum wage of 12 euros per hour/Photo: Franziska Giffey/Facebook

Germany: New laws and other changes in October 2022

Like every month, October 2022 brings some important changes for people living in Germany. For example, the minimum wage will rise to twelve euros, the value-added tax on gas will go down and new COVID-19 rules enter into force, among other new laws and regulations. Here’s an overview of what will change in the new month

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Minimum wage rises to 12 euros

On 1 October 2022, the statutory minimum wage will make the biggest leap in its history, rising from the current 10.45 to 12 euros per hour. It is already the second increase this year. It already rose in July from 9.82 to 10.45 euros per hour.

More than six million workers, especially in the hospitality industry, delivery services and retail, will benefit from the new minimum wage, according to the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB).

Meanwhile, collective agreements that provide for lower wages will no longer apply from October.

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Mini-job earning limit rises to 520 euros

Due to the increase in the minimum wage, the upper earning limit for marginal employment (mini jobs) will also rise. From 1 October 2022, mini-jobbers will therefore be allowed to earn up to 520 euros instead of the previous 450 euros.

The limit of the so-called transitional range of mini-jobs will also increase from 520 to 1,600 euros. Previously, the upper limit was 1,300 euros. Employees who fall into the transitional range pay lower social security contributions.

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VAT on gas goes down

Due to the war in Ukraine and the resulting high inflation, energy prices are skyrocketing. The federal government has therefore decided to reduce the VAT rate on gas from 19 to seven percent. The measures are part of the so-called third relief package and are also intended to offset the controversial gas levy.

The lowered tax rate is to apply until March 2024 – as long as the gas levy is in force. The latter, however, could still fall. According to reports, however, the tax cut on gas will also come into effect if the gas levy is overturned.

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Time change: Winter time begins!

On 30 October 2022, the clocks will be set back at 3.00 am to 2.00 am on Saturday night. That means sleeping one hour longer. However, it will now also get dark earlier in the evening.

Even though the time change has been controversial for years and the European Union (EU) wants to abolish it, the Member States have not yet been able to reach a consensus.

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Innovations for heating systems

Building owners with gas heating systems are now obliged to check their heating systems in order to save energy. The regulation comes into force on 1 October and is valid for two years. The heating checks are to be carried out by specialised personnel, such as heating engineers, chimney sweeps or energy consultants.

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Submit your tax return by 31 October!

The tax return is a nagging chore for many. All those who are still putting off filing their income and property tax returns for the year still have until 31 October to submit them to the tax office.

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New COVID-19 regulations

As many experts expect the number of COVID-19 cases to rise in autumn and winter, a new Infection Protection Act will come into force on 1 October 2022.

Among other things, from 1 October 2022 to 7 April 2023, specific protective measures will apply nationwide in certain areas:

  • FFP2 masks are mandatory in long-distance public transport.
  • Children and adolescents from six up to and including 13 years of age as well as staff may also wear medical masks (surgical masks).
  • FFP2 masks are compulsory and testing is compulsory for access to hospitals and care facilities. This also applies to employees in outpatient care services and comparable service providers.
  • Wearing an FFP2 mask is mandatory for patients and visitors in doctors’ surgeries, dialysis facilities and other health care facilities.
  • However, masks are no longer mandatory onboard airlines.

Based on the law and depending on the incidence of infection, the individual federal states can also impose a mask obligation in shops, restaurants or event rooms. They may also enact more far-reaching regulations to ensure the functioning of the health system or other critical infrastructure.

New regulation for vaccination status

From 1 October, only those who are triple-vaccinated will be considered legally “fully vaccinated”. Until now, people have been considered “fully vaccinated” if they have been vaccinated twice.

Exceptions will be made if a person has been infected with the coronavirus in the past: Here, two vaccinations will be sufficient,

  • if the first vaccination was preceded by an infection proven by an antibody test, or
  • if the second vaccination was preceded by an infection proven by a PCR test, or
  • if the second vaccination was followed by a PCR-proven infection and 28 days have passed since the test.

The vaccination status no longer plays a role in the coronavirus protection measures. It no longer determines access to restaurants or events, for example, as it did last winter. To be well protected, a third vaccination is nevertheless necessary.

Vaccinations at pharmacies, dentists and veterinary practices

You do not have to go to the vaccination centres or your family doctor for a coronavirus or flu vaccination. Pharmacists, veterinarians and dentists may continue to vaccinate from 1 October until 30 April 2023.

Femi Awoniyi

READ ALSO Germany: New laws and other changes in September 2022

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