June 2020: 8 changes affecting expats in Germany
Contact restrictions are being loosened, the worldwide travel warning looks set to be lifted and billions of euros worth of aid is being promised for businesses and individuals. There are plenty of changes in June that expats in Germany need to know about - and most of them revolve around coronavirus.
1. Contact restrictions loosened
After some protracted negotiations, the federal and state governments finally agreed to a compromise on how to proceed with contact restrictions in Germany. They will continue to apply until June 29, but with some significant relaxations.
From June 6, gatherings of up to 10 people or members of two different households are allowed to meet in public. There is no longer a maximum number of people in private spaces - as long as distance and hygiene rules continue to be observed. Each federal state has final say.
2. Worldwide travel warning to be (partially) lifted
As has already been announced, the government plans to lift its worldwide travel warning for 31 European countries from June 15 - if the coronavirus situation allows. In addition to Germany’s 26 partner countries in the European Union, travel would be permitted to the UK, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. A final decision is expected on June 3.
3. Economic stimulus package
In order to boost the German economy - which has been forced into a recession by the ongoing pandemic - the federal government is planning a multi-billion stimulus package. This includes billions of euros in aid for small and medium-sized businesses to help them avoid bankruptcy, as well as packages designed to put more money in consumers’ pockets.
The exact details will be confirmed in early June, but it seems likely that the latter will include a bonus (somewhere between 300 and 600 euros per child) for families, who have been particularly affected during the crisis by the closure of childcare centres. A car purchase bonus, relief for electricity bills and further aid programmes for self-employed workers are also in the offing.
4. Daycare centres reopening
After months of closure, daycare centres are finally being allowed to reopen across the country. In some federal states, they are already open - but there are different conditions in each state:
- Baden-Württemberg: All centres will be fully open by the end of June at the latest
- Bavaria: Only those who will start school next year can return, after the Pentecost national holiday
- Bremen: All preschool children can return from June 1
- Hamburg: Children aged four and a half and above (and their siblings) may return from June 4
- Hesse: All centres to return to (restricted) operation in early June
- North Rhine-Westphalia: Normal operation to be resumed on June 8
- Saxony-Anhalt: Normal operation to be resumed on June 2
- Thuringia: Centres to reopen from June 15 at the latest
5. Pensions going up
Around 21 million pensioners in Germany can expect a slight increase in their pension at the end of the month, due to the annual pension adjustment. Pensions will increase by 3,45 percent in the western (old) federal states and by 4,20 percent in the eastern (new) federal states. The new amount is usually paid out at the end of June.
Not all pensioners will have their benefits increased at the same time: if you entered retirement on or before March 2004, your increase will be paid out at the end of June; if you started your pension later, you will not receive the increase until the end of July. In either case, the increase is paid automatically.
6. Email addresses included on driving licence register
The driver licensing authority’s register contains information about the data on everyone’s driving licence. As of June, this will include your email address.
7. New heat warning level
In anticipation of further heat waves like the unprecedented ones we experienced last summer, the DWD has introduced a new level for heat warnings, which will be in use from June 15. In addition to the regular “heat” warning, which is issued when the temperature is expected to exceed 32 degrees in the early afternoon, there will be a new “extreme heat” warning reserved for severe weather - when the thermometer tips the 38-degree mark.
8. Some corona regulations expire
A few regulations that were brought in to help consumers during the coronavirus crisis will expire in June. This includes the option to exchange Deutsche Bahn train tickets purchased before March 13, the option to defer loan repayments for up to three months, protection against eviction for tenants who are unable to pay rent and simplified access to unemployment benefits. As of June 30, these changes will no longer apply.