Legal changes 2019: This is important for entrepreneurs

2019 is here and brings various legal changes for medium-sized businesses. I have briefly and concisely summarized the most important regulations below.

Before I start to list the legal changes for companies, I would like to point out that all information is without guarantee. Although I am a lawyer myself, in case of doubt it is best to contact a specialist for specific changes.

Right to limited part-time

Since January 1, 2019, employees have a binding entitlement to “limited-term part-time work” – the so-called bridge part-time. This claim applies to employees in companies with at least 45 employees if they have been employed in this company for more than six months.

As a result, workers will be able to reduce their hours of work for a period of time – at least one and not more than five years – and then return to their original working hours.

Raising the minimum wage

The second of the legal changes in 2019 for companies concerns the statutory minimum wage. This will increase from January 1, 2019, from 8.84 euros to 9.19 euros. For those who want to know for sure: this is an increase of 3.9 percent.

As of 1 January 2020, the minimum wage will be raised again to 9.35 euros.

Unemployment insurance with lower contribution rate

From 1 January 2019, the unemployment insurance contribution rate dropped from 3.0 to 2.5 percent. This results in a reduction of 0.25 percent for employers.

Long-term care insurance with higher contribution rate

The contribution rate for long-term care insurance will rise to 3.05 percent from 1 January 2019, which corresponds to an increase of 0.5 percentage points. Since the contribution to the long-term care insurance is borne equally by employers and employees, employers are therefore burdened by 0.25 percent more.

Increase in the contribution assessment limits

The income thresholds (BBG) in social security were increased from 1 January 2019. In statutory health insurance, it rose to 4,537.50 euros a month. In the pension and unemployment insurance, the BBG West was set for 2019 to 6,700 euros a month and the BBG East to 6,150 euros a month.

Same distribution of additional contributions in health insurance

The additional contributions to statutory health insurance will be borne equally by employees and employers from 1 January 2019.

In the course of this there will be relief for the self-employed, who want to insure themselves by law, because their monthly minimum amount is halved to 171 Euro.

Compulsory employer subsidy for occupational pensions

If employers save social security contributions by salary conversion for their employees, they will be required to pay a contribution of 15 percent to the company pension scheme as from 1 January 2019.

This regulation applies to new commitments from January 1, 2019. From January 1, 2022, it will apply to all existing contracts, whereby collective agreements may deviate from this regulation.

Participation Chance Act

Employers receive support in the form of wage subsidies if they hire long-term unemployed people on their farms.

Third gender besides male and female

For intersexuals, there is a third gender since 1 January 2019. This is important for entrepreneurs, because they have to take this into account in job advertisements.

There must in future in addition to “female” and “male” also “divers” be specified. If they do not take this into account, they may face a punishment for discrimination.

Effects of the annual tax law

Released from tax is the pecuniary advantage of a gratuitous or discounted transfer of a company bicycle to the employee.

However, the previous tax exemption for employers ‘grants and benefits in respect of employees’ expenses for the use of public transport by regular service on the way from home to workplace will cease to apply from 1 January 2019.

But now the use of electric and hybrid vehicles is supported. As part of the assessment basis for the company car hire of such externally rechargeable vehicles is now recognized as a pecuniary advantage 0.5 percent instead of one percent of the domestic list price.

However, this only applies to vehicles purchased or leased between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2021.

Sales on electronic marketplaces

Operators of electronic marketplaces are now required to record information provided by users whose taxable income in Germany is eligible.

Raising and expanding the truck toll

With effect from 1 January 2019, tolls have been increased. Especially for heavy trucks (18-tonner) is the ride on highways and highways thus more expensive. From 1 July 2019, the toll will be extended to all federal highways.

New packaging law

The last legal amendment, which also applies since 1 January 2019, is the new Packaging Act. This is relevant for companies that sell goods with packaging subject to systemic participation in Germany. Among other things, the law includes an obligation to register with the Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister (ZSVR).

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