BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - The German Bundestag has approved the reform of the outdated Postal Act. In a plenary vote on Thursday in Berlin, the proposal by the coalition of the traffic-light coalition received a majority. The Bundesrat is to give its approval in July - then the legislative process will be complete. The reform provides for Deutsche Post to be given more time to deliver letters in future - 95% of letters only have to reach the recipient within three working days, whereas this obligation currently only applies after two days.

The reduced time pressure means that Swiss Post will no longer need airplanes to deliver letters within Germany, reducing its CO2 emissions and costs. For consumers, this means that they will sometimes have to wait a little longer for a letter from 2025. The installation of postal machines will also be made easier.

Other parts of the reform concern the parcel industry. Subcontractors are to be checked better and more frequently in future in order to identify and punish illegal employment and working time violations. A register at the Federal Network Agency, in which subcontractors are listed, should also ensure greater transparency and prevent black sheep from continuing to operate. As a rule, parcels weighing more than 20 kilos should only be delivered by two people - unless they have a suitable technical aid, in which case one-person delivery is still permitted.

The main parts of the current Postal Act have been in force since 1998, when online commerce was still in its infancy and letters were important for everyday communication - today, however, many people rely on chats and emails, which is why the volume of letters is falling continuously./wdw/DP/ngu