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Minimum wage, citizens' income, cannabis: what will change in 2024

Cannabis is to become legal and a new deposit requirement is coming. Numerous reforms will come into force in 2024, which will also affect the incomes of many citizens. Where will there be more money in future and where will there be cuts?

From January 1, 2024, the normal VAT rate of 19 percent will once again apply in the catering....aussiedlerbote.de
From January 1, 2024, the normal VAT rate of 19 percent will once again apply in the catering sector instead of the temporary 7 percent. Photo.aussiedlerbote.de

Turn of the year - Minimum wage, citizens' income, cannabis: what will change in 2024

In the new year, the minimum wage and the citizen's income will increase. However, restaurant meals could become more expensive and the Heating Act comes into force. An overview of what consumers can expect in 2024:

Higher minimum wage

The minimum wage will rise from 12 to 12.41 euros per hour on January 1

Higher mini-job threshold

As part of the minimum wage increase, the upper limit for mini-jobs will also rise. From January, this will increase from 520 to 538 euros per month.

Citizen's allowance increases significantly

The more than five million recipients of citizen's income are to receive an average of around twelve percent more money from January 1, 2024. For single people, this means an increase of 61 to 563 euros per month. Adults living with a partner will receive 506 euros. For children, the rates are between 357 and 471 euros, depending on age.

Income tax

The basic tax-free allowance, i.e. the income up to which no tax has to be paid, is to increase. Originally, the limit was to be 11,604 euros, but most recently Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) spoke of 11,784 euros. The child allowance is to be raised to 6612 euros. Due to the budget crisis, however, there could still be changes to the tax relief.

Cuts to parental allowance

From April, parental allowance, which mothers and fathers receive as a wage replacement benefit if they stay at home after the birth of a child, will only be paid to couples with a maximum taxable annual income of 175,000 euros. For single parents, the limit will be 150,000 euros. This will only apply to parents whose child is born on or after March 31, 2024.

Child supplement increases

Families on low incomes can receive more support from the state. The maximum amount of the child supplement will increase from 250 euros to up to 292 euros per month and child on January 1.

More money for care workers

Employees in geriatric care will receive more money from May 1. The minimum wage per hour will rise to 19.50 euros for care professionals, 16.50 euros for qualified care assistants and 15.50 euros for care assistants.

Trainee wage

The minimum wage for trainees in their first year of training will increase by 4.7 percent to 649 euros per month. This affects apprenticeships that begin on or after January 1. Exceptions are possible under collective agreements.

Heating in new buildings

The first regulations of the Heating Act are taking effect: From January, only heating systems based on 65 percent renewable energy may be installed in new buildings within new development areas. In many cases, this is likely to be a heat pump.

CO2 price

The price of CO2 will rise to 45 euros per tonne on January 1, making refueling and heating with oil or gas more expensive.

Energy price brakes

The electricity and gas price brakes will be abolished on January 1. However, due to lower market prices, they no longer play a role for most energy consumers.

Normal VAT for gas and district heating

From March 1, gas and district heating will again be subject to the normal VAT rate of 19 percent. To ease the burden on consumers, the rate of 7 percent applied temporarily.

Germany ticket

It is still unclear how the price of the Deutschlandticket will develop in 2024. The 49 euros per month was intended as an introductory price. The amount could therefore increase over the course of the year.

Student ticket

Students are expected to be able to enjoy a discounted Deutschlandticket from the 2024 summer semester: they will then be able to use public transport throughout Germany for 29.40 euros per month.

Care allowance increases

The care allowance for home care will be increased by five percent - depending on the level of care, this is an increase of between 16 and 45 euros per month. Benefits in kind for outpatient care will also be increased by five percent. From 2024, anyone caring for relatives will be entitled to an annual care allowance for ten working days per person in need of care.

Long-term care insurance increases supplements

There is also relief for people in need of care in care homes: The long-term care insurance fund is increasing the percentage supplements for people in fully inpatient care facilities. Depending on the length of stay in the nursing home, the increase is between five and ten percent.

Higher social security contributions for high earners

High earners are to pay higher social security contributions. Contributions to statutory pension and unemployment insurance are to be paid up to an amount of 7550 euros per month in the West and 7450 euros in the East. The contribution assessment ceiling for statutory health and long-term care insurance is to rise to 5175 euros per month.

Cannabis to become legal

On April 1, adults aged 18 and over will be allowed to possess 25 grams of cannabis in public places. In private areas, up to 50 grams from home cultivation will be permitted. Three plants may be grown privately. On July 1, cannabis clubs for joint cultivation are to become possible. However, the necessary Bundestag resolution on these plans of the traffic light is still pending.

Air travel tax

Air travelers must prepare themselves for rising ticket prices in the new year because the traffic light coalition wants to increase the air traffic tax. Most of the details are still unclear.

E-car subsidy

The so-called environmental bonus to support the purchase of an electric car will no longer be available in the new year. Applications could be submitted up to and including December 17.

Black box for the car

From July 7, newly registered cars in Germany must be equipped with an event data recorder. Like the black box on airplanes, data is to be stored that can be read out in the event of an accident.

Winter tires

From October, drivers must fit winter and all-season tires with the Alpine symbol on their cars in winter weather. The so-called M+S tires (mud and snow) are then no longer permitted.

More expensive insurance

Premiums for building and car insurance are likely to rise again. The NRW consumer advice center expects an increase of at least ten percent.

Pension age limit increases

At the turn of the year, the regular retirement age will rise to 66. This applies to pensioners born in 1958. For those born later, the retirement age will increase in two-month increments, meaning that they will have to work longer or accept deductions if they want to retire earlier.

Clinic atlas

What services and what quality of treatment does a hospital offer? From April, citizens will probably be able to find this information on an online portal. As an interactive portal, the so-called transparency directory is intended to provide comprehensible information about the services offered at around 1700 hospital locations throughout Germany.

E-prescription

From January, panel doctors will be obliged to issue e-prescriptions for prescription drugs. Insured persons have three options for redeeming them: via app, paper printout or with their health insurance card.

Normal tax for restaurant visits

From January 1, the normal VAT rate of 19 percent will apply again in restaurants instead of the temporary 7 percent. Eating out could therefore become more expensive.

Origin of the meat

Anyone buying unpackaged meat at the counter or at the market, for example, will have more clarity about its origin. Mandatory labeling will be extended to unpackaged meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry from 1 February. Previously, it only applied to packaged meat and unpackaged beef.

Deposit on milk in plastic bottles

A deposit will also be required for milk or mixed milk drinks on January 1 if they are sold in plastic bottles.

Lids for drinks

In order to reduce waste in the countryside, loose caps on certain drinks will be banned from July 3. This applies to disposable packaging made entirely or partly of plastic - such as juice cartons or disposable PET bottles - with a volume of up to three liters.

End of the children's passport

Children's passports can no longer be applied for from January 2024. The document, which is currently available for children under the age of twelve, is to be replaced by an electronic passport with a longer period of validity and the option to use it for worldwide travel. This means higher costs for parents, as the electronic passport costs 37.50 euros, which is more expensive than the previous children's passport at 13 euros.

Breast cancer screening

The upper age limit for free breast cancer screening for those with statutory health insurance will be raised from 69 to 75. The new regulation is to be implemented on July 1, 2024.

Renovation of the Riedbahn

On July 15, Deutsche Bahn begins the general refurbishment of the Riedbahn, which connects Frankfurt and Mannheim. The line will remain closed until December 14. Trains will be rerouted and there will be rail replacement services.

Supply Chain Act

The Supply Chain Act on compliance with human rights by suppliers applies to more companies: From 2024, companies that have at least 1000 employees in Germany will also be affected. Previously, the limit was 3000.

Toll obligation for smaller vans

From 1 July, the toll obligation will also apply to smaller vans weighing more than 3.5 tons. Previously, it applied from 7.5 tons.

Inflation compensation bonus

Employers can still pay their employees the inflation compensation bonus of a maximum of 3,000 euros, which was introduced in 2022, until the end of the new year. No taxes or duties are due on this.

Standardized charging cables

Manufacturers of smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices will be obliged to use the uniform USB-C charging cable standard. The corresponding regulation will take effect from December 28, 2024.

Identity documents by post

From November, it will be easier to receive identity documents. So-called official documents can be sent by post on request for a fee. There will then be no need to go to the office to pick up an ID card, for example.

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Source: www.stern.de

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