November 2022: 9 changes affecting expats in Germany
From sick notes via phone to a hike in motorway toilet service prices, there’s quite a bit changing in the final month of autumn. Here are nine things expats in Germany should know about in November 2022.
1. Energy suppliers to remove price inequality
From November 1 energy companies will no longer be allowed to charge new customers inflated prices. The change comes after many energy companies increased their tariffs for new customers as procurement costs skyrocketed amid Germany’s energy crisis. According to the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), existing contracts which include increased tariffs will need to be adjusted come November.
2. Sick note possible by telephone
Until November 30 patients will be able to receive sick notes via phone from their GP. The policy was first introduced at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to minimise the spread of the virus. Throughout the pandemic the policy has been reintroduced on multiple occasions, most recently in August 2022, the window that is now coming to an end. Patients can also use the service to request a one-time extension of their sick leave of up to seven calendar days.
3. Free coronavirus rapid test regulations
Current coronavirus test regulations will be in place until November 25 and the government has yet to confirm what the testing rules will look like after that date. As it stands, only specific groups qualify to receive coronavirus rapid tests free of charge. This includes people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, children under the age of five and people who work in hospitals and care homes. Those who do not qualify but have been in contact with an infected person, received a Corona Warn-App “high risk” notification or who would like to test in advance of planned social gathering, can pay three euros to be tested.
4. Motorway toilet services price hike
From November 18, Sanifair, the private company which has 400 toilets across service stations on German motorways, will increase its prices from 70 cents to one euro per visit.
5. Hospital appointment companions can claim sick pay
Anyone who misses work in order to accompany a disabled friend or relative to the hospital will be able to claim wages that they lost back from their health insurance come November 1. In order to receive the money, applicants must provide medical proof that it is necessary for the patient to have someone accompany them at all times.
6. Online Hauptversammlungen legally recognised
General meetings (Hauptversammlungen), which are held online will hold the same weight as those held offline come November 1. The term encompasses shareholder meetings and the new rules, which have been enshrined into German law, also outline how shareholders can now have new rights to information. The change is expected to be expanded to cooperatives in the near future.
7. German vet bills to increase
After 20 years of price stagnation, vet bills for pets in Germany will become more expensive from November 22. The change comes after the Bundesrat's July decision to update the German veterinarians' fee scale. Prices will go up between 20 and 100 percent, depending on the service. For cat and dog vaccinations, fees will rise from 5,73 to 11,50 euros.
8. Car insurance contract cancellation window
Drivers who want to change their car insurance in Germany in the New Year must cancel their contracts by November 30, in order to give their current provider adequate notice. This change applies to most people with car insurance in Germany, since many providers have contracts which conclude at the beginning of 2023.
9. Netflix Basic with Ads launches in Germany
Despite the fact that it is mandatory to pay for a German television licence (Rundfunkbeitrag), many people in Germany prefer to use private streaming services online. Until now Netflix was always been ad free. But last month the platform announced that its new Basic with Ads subscription would launch in 12 international countries, including Germany on November 3.
Currently, Netflix’s most popular package costs 12,99 euros per month for ad-free streaming. Basic with Ads will cost 4,99 euros per month and will show viewers an advertisement lasting 15 or 30 seconds at the beginning of the stream and mid-roll ads during their viewing. Netflix has promised only four to five minutes of adverts per hour.