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Germany: What is New in 2020?

The new year is coming closer in big steps. So are new laws and wages. It may be hard to believe, but prices for certain items will actually slump in 2020.

New years usually come with bad news regarding prices for things everyone needs. In the case of 2020, this is only partially the case. Some prices are decreasing. For instance there are good news for Deutsche Bahn passengers. Thanks to a VAT reduction for train tickets, the latter will be 10 percent cheaper in 2020.

Minimum Wage Rises

Girls and women will notice a drop in prices for female hygiene articles such as tampons and sanitary pads, also due to a VAT decrease. So far, consumers paid 19 percent on top of the actual product price. Now the VAT was reduced to 7 percent. The decision was preceded by a long discussion about the so-called “tampon tax”.

There are more good news. The minimum wage in Germany will increase from 9.19 to 9.35 Euro (10.38 Dollars or 7.98 Pounds Sterling). Apprentices will receive more money too. In this case the minimum monthly wage will be 515 Euro (572 Dollars or 439 Pounds) before it rises even further in the years to come. The salaries for caregivers are supposed to increase as well.

Pensions are on the rise too. In the area of former West Germany, pensioners will have 3.15 percent more, in former East Germany 3.92 percent. Social welfare recipients will have a little more money in their pockets. Parents who do not earn enough to give their children what they need will be supported more as well.

Electricity Price Hike

The child allowance is being increased. What this means is that parents will benefit by paying less taxes. The same applies to Germans who nurse family members. The alimony for children increases. Its exact amount depends on their ages. University students who live with their parents will be getting more too.

Flight tickets will become more expensive in 2020 because the taxes imposed on them are increasing to up to 59.43 Euro (66 Dollars or 51 Pounds) per flight. Here the amount depends on the flight distance and on the question whether it is a domestic or international flight. Just like the VAT decrease on train tickets, this measure is part of the so-called ‘Climate Package’ the German government recently pushed through the Bundestag.

Electricity will be even more expensive than it already was. The new year will bring a 5.5 percent increase. An average family will have to pay around 13 Euro (14 Dollars or 11 Pounds) more per month.

Compulsory Vaccinations

Starting in 2020, retailers have to give out receipts to all customers, even if they purchase a pack of chewing gums only. Not everyone likes this new rule, also because it is expected to produce trash.

Yet another novelty is the compulsory measles vaccination for children. Parents who do not have their children vaccinated will have to pay high fines. Kindergartens and schools are not allowed to accept children without measles vaccinations. This law will kick in in March of 2020.

Parents of kids who are already in the kindergarten or at school have until July 2021 to prove their little ones were vaccinated. This measure was approved by the Berlin Bundestag because too many parents in Germany forget or even reject vaccinations, while citing conspiracy theories as reasons.

By the way: The publication you are reading, The Berlin Spectator, was established in January of 2019. We have worked a whole lot, as you can see. But there has hardly been any income. This is something we urgently need to change. Would you consider contributing? We would be very thankful. Our donations page can be found here.