September 2022: 9 changes affecting expats in Germany
From electronic prescriptions to the end of public transport discounts, there’s quite a bit changing as summer ends and autumn arrives. Here are nine things expats in Germany should know about in September 2022.
1. 300-euro energy relief payment
To help with the rising cost of energy, all working and self-employed people in Germany will receive a one-off, flat rate energy relief payment in September. The money will either be paid out along with your regular salary or discounted from your tax prepayment for September, if you’re self-employed. It’s subject to taxation, but not contributions to social security.
2. End of 9-euro ticket and fuel tax cut
It’s been a wild ride, but at the beginning of September it’s time to bid a fond farewell to the 9-euro ticket, after three months of discounted public transport. Plans for a successor ticket are still in the draft stage, and so commuters will have to contend with regular prices once again from September 1. Many transport associations have already announced price increases.
3. Energy savings measures come into effect
In a bid to save energy while it attempts to build up gas stockpiles for the winter, Germany will implement various energy-saving measures from September onwards. In public buildings, the heating will be turned down to a maximum of 19 degrees and the hot water will be switched off for hand washing, while billboards, signage, buildings and monuments will generally remain unlit at night. Shops will be asked to keep their doors shut to keep in the heat and turn their window lights off at night.
4. COVID Infection Protection Act expires
The law that currently governs Germany’s measures for controlling the spread of coronavirus, the Infection Protection Act, is set to expire on September 23. The government has already laid out its proposals for an autumn COVID strategy, and these are set to be debated when the Bundestag returns from its summer break on September 6 - along with a further energy relief package and the budget for 2023. It’s likely that the new COVID measures, which include mask requirements and the possible return of other restrictions, will apply from October 1.
5. Pharmacies begin accepting e-prescriptions
From September 1, all pharmacies in Germany will be required to accept electronic prescriptions for medicines, as the healthcare system gradually goes digital. However, that doesn’t mean that all doctors in Germany will start issuing e-prescriptions come September. To ensure a smooth changeover, the transition is proceeding in stages, starting with medical institutions in Westphalia-Lippe and Schleswig-Holstein.
6. Care sector workers receive salary boost
Care workers can look forward to more money in their pay packets from September. Skilled nursing staff will see their minimum wage increase from 15 to 17,10 euros per hour, while nursing staff with less experience will be paid 14,60 euros per hour, up from 12,50 euros. Care workers without formal qualifications will in future receive 13,70 euros per hour, up from 12 euros.
7. Back to school
The school holidays are coming to a close in the last remaining federal states in September. Kids go back to classrooms on September 5 in Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg the holidays end a week later, on September 12. The children in other states are already back in class.
8. Oktoberfest is back!
For the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the world-famous Oktoberfest will finally return to the city of Munich this September. An expected 120.000 guests will descend on the iconic folk festival’s tents between September 17 and October 3, while millions more will make their way to the German city from all over the world.
9. Amazon Prime to get more expensive
And finally, Amazon Prime customers in Germany will face a higher subscription rate from September, with the monthly payment increasing from 7,99 to 8,99 euros, while the annual subscription will cost 89,90 euros instead of the previous 69 euros.