The agenda has it all: Bundeswehr billions, increase in minimum wage and pension, corona care bonus. The Federal Council gives the green light. Even if some countries abstain from voting on one point.
Millions of workers will soon have more money as a result of the increase in the minimum wage. Pensioners receive higher salaries, nurses receive a corona care bonus. The Bundesrat approved numerous laws recently passed by the Bundestag. The amendment to the Basic Law on the planned 100 billion special fund for the Bundeswehr was also accepted. The most important decisions:
Bundeswehr special fund
The federal states voted with the necessary two-thirds majority for the amendment to the Basic Law, which enables the 100 billion program to improve the equipment of the Bundeswehr. This means that loans of this amount can now be taken out while circumventing the debt brake. A new Article 87a will be added to the Basic Law. Only the states with a government participation of the left - Thuringia, Berlin, Bremen and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania - voted with abstentions. The money is to be used to purchase new aircraft, helicopters, ships, tanks and ammunition in the coming years. But it is also about equipment such as night vision devices and radios. The German government is reacting to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.
The approximately 21 million pensioners in Germany will receive significantly higher payments from July 1st. Pensions will rise by 5.35 percent in the West and by 6.12 percent in the East. There are also improvements for people who have been drawing a disability pension for a long time and have not been able to benefit from reforms since 2014. In the future, pensioners who received a disability pension from 2001 to 2018 will receive supplements. A total of around three million people should benefit from this. The increase is stronger than it has been for a long time, which is made possible by the good wage development in Germany.
For around 6.2 million employees in Germany, the minimum wage will rise to 12 euros on October 1st. The lower wage limit is currently EUR 9.82 gross. As of July 1, it will rise to EUR 10.45 as scheduled. The current chancellor, Olaf Scholz, had made the increase a core promise in the federal election campaign. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig said that wages should be high enough that you can live with them sensibly and ultimately get an adequate pension. At the same time, the limit for mini-jobs in October will rise from 450 to 520 euros per month.
Corona care bonus
Nursing staff in hospitals and nursing facilities will receive a one-off corona nursing bonus due to the particular burdens of the pandemic. The tax-free premium is staggered and can amount to up to 550 euros. The employees in care "are and were extremely challenged during the pandemic, mentally and physically," said Parliamentary State Secretary Edgar Franke in justification. People who work full-time in direct patient care receive the highest bonus. The federal government is providing one billion euros for this.
Corona tax aid
This is about a whole package: employees can also claim a home office flat rate of a maximum of 600 euros in their tax return for this year. The deadline for filing the tax return has been moved from the end of July to the end of October. If you have them done by a tax consultant, you have even more time. The degressive depreciation for movable assets such as machines or vehicle fleets is extended by one year. Companies can also offset current losses against profits from the two previous years to a greater extent than before. Employer grants for short-time work benefits will remain tax-free until the end of June 2022. Corona bonus payments from employers are also not taxed up to an amount of 4500 euros.
Moratorium on Hartz IV sanctions
Job seekers will have fewer Hartz IV sanctions to fear by the middle of next year. The possibility of reducing unemployment benefit II by 30 percent in the event of a breach of duty will be suspended for one year. This applies, for example, if reasonable work is not accepted. However, in the event of repeated failure to report or missed deadlines, there is a risk of benefit cuts of up to 10 percent of the standard rate.
Federal Budget 2022
The approved federal budget provides for expenditure of around 496 billion euros for 2022. The new borrowing amounts to almost 139 billion euros. Due to the high expenditure for the consequences of the corona pandemic and the Ukraine war, the federal government is again clearly tearing the debt brake anchored in the Basic Law. Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner wants to comply with them again from 2023. After it has been signed by the Federal President and promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette, the budget law can come into force retrospectively as of January 1, 2022. The delay was due to the federal elections last autumn and the subsequent formation of a government.
Internet minimum speed
The Federal Council gave the green light for faster internet in previously underserved areas. He agreed to the requirements of the Federal Network Agency for a minimum supply in Germany. Accordingly, a download speed of at least 10 megabits per second must be possible everywhere in the future. For the upload it should be 1.7 megabits per second. In addition, the response time must not exceed 150 milliseconds. Many countries had actually pushed for more committed guidelines.