May 2023: 7 changes affecting expats in Germany

May 2023: 7 changes affecting expats in Germany

As the old folk song goes, “Alles neu macht der Mai” ("May makes everything new"). This May, it’s not quite everything, but there are indeed some important changes around the corner that every expat in Germany should know about.

1. 49-euro Deutschlandticket is here for real

For the past six months everyone in Germany has been speaking of the devil, but frustratingly, he hasn’t been appearing. Well, from May 1, he will finally arrive in the form of the 49-euro ticket, and everyone can release a sigh of relief marred with disappointment that the devil no longer costs an ungodly nine euros.

Whoever was organised enough to already pick up their presale Deutschlandticket will now be able to jump straight on all regional trains and public transport in Germany for one month. Unlike the 9-euro ticket, the 49-euro ticket will only be available as a subscription, but it will be cancellable on a monthly basis. It is available for purchase as an online ticket, chip card or classic paper ticket.

Bon voyage! 

2. May holidays: Celebrations and demonstrations

In Germany we are at that sweet little part of the year when it feels like there is a Feiertag (public holiday) every week. This trend will continue with Tag der Arbeit (Labour Day) on May 1. Celebrations and recognition of May 1 vary greatly across Germany. In villages across Bavaria, locals will be setting up their maypoles to have a jig around, and in Berlin, the capital’s famous Revolutionäre 1er Mai demonstrations for better pay and working conditions will begin in the neighbourhood of Kreuzberg.

May 18 will mark another public holiday in Germany, Christi Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day). This falls on a Thursday in 2023, making Friday, May 19 a Brückentag (bridge day) ideal for taking off work to maximise the long weekend. May 28 and 29 will also mark Pfingsten (Whitsun), rounding off the month with another holiday!

3. Gas prices to go down

Several basic gas suppliers are set to lower their prices in May to below the 12 cent per kilowatt hour limit set by the Gaspreisbremse (gas price cap), thanks to the fact that prices on the wholesale market have now been down for a few months. This means that starting on Monday, it will be worth it for customers to compare the prices of different utility providers.

Though gas prices are going down, inflation forecasters predict that it could be a number of months before food reaches more recognisable prices. 

4. Minimum wage rise for care workers

From May 1 workers in the care sector will get a pay rise as part of the two adjustments to wages planned for 2023. The minimum wage will continue to vary depending on employees’ qualifications. From May the following minimum wages will apply: 13,90 euros per hour for assistants, 14,90 for qualified care assistants and 17,65 for qualified nurses.

5. Digital Markets Act comes into effect in EU

From May 2 the EU Digital Markets Act will come into force. This means online giants such as Google, Apple and Amazon must adhere to stricter advertising laws when operating in the EU. Personalised ads will be restricted and mobile and computer users will be able to delete pre-installed apps. 

The EU parliament say it will impose strict sanctions on international companies which do not adhere to the new rules, such as taking 10 percent of a company’s annual turnover if they do not comply, and 20 percent for repeat offences.

6. Corona Warn App

How times change: the Robert Koch Institute has announced that from May 1, the Corona Warn App, which helped us show all of our vaccine certificates in the days of 2G and 3G confusion, will no longer warn users when they have been in contact with a person infected with coronavirus

It will still be possible to use the app, which was downloaded a whopping 50 million times, to show your vaccination status.

7. Vodafone to increase prices

Mobile telephone provider, Vodafone will increase its prices from May 4. Since November 2022, newer customers have already been paying more. Now, existing customers will have to pay an extra 5 euros per month.

According to the communications provider, all affected customers have already been informed about the new tariffs and are entitled to a termination period of three months if they want to look for a better offer elsewhere.

Thumb image credit: Timeckert /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



Leave a comment