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The German Accessibility Strengthening Act (Barrierefreiheitsstärkungsgesetz) is a done deal and the deadlines for compliance are fast approaching. We therefore set out to find answers to the following questions:
- Exactly when do you have to start complying with the requirements associated with the act?
- Who must comply with the deadlines and requirements?
- Are there exceptions to the deadlines?
- Are there different deadlines for different areas?
- How will compliance be verified?
- What happens in the event of non-compliance?
We clarify all these questions in this introductory article. After reading, you will have a clear overview of everything there is to know about the deadlines of the German Accessibility Strengthening Act.
What are the deadlines for the Accessibility Strengthening Act?
The law was passed by the German Bundestag on July 22, 2021. It will come into force approximately four years later on 28.07.2025. From this date, all products and services listed therein must be brought onto the market barrier-free.
For new products, this means that they must be designed from the outset to meet the requirements of the Accessibility Strengthening Act.
This also applies to services, where the deadline of the end of June 2025 has even more far-reaching consequences: Services that already exist must also be redesigned so that they are barrier-free from the date on which the deadline expires.
Are there also exceptions to the deadlines?
The Accessibility Strengthening Act makes two exceptions.
The first exception applies to all microenterprises that provide services. These do not have to comply with the act if the following criteria are met:
- The company must have no more than 9 employees
- It must generate no more than 2 million euros in annual revenue
The second exception applies to a specific product: self-service terminals also fall under the Accessibility Strengthening Act, but have a separate transition period until 2040. However, this makes them the only products that are treated separately.
Who must comply with the deadlines and requirements of the Accessibility Strengthening Act?
For all services and products mentioned in the Act, the following parties involved in the product must comply with the act:
Are there different deadlines for different product and service areas?
No, the Accessibility Strengthening Act provides the same deadlines for all categories of products and services. It also makes no difference whether you are a manufacturer, distributor or importer. The deadline for all is 28.07.2025 (except for self-service terminals, as noted above).
How will compliance be verified?
Compliance with the law is checked by the respective state authority for market surveillance. If there is a violation of the act, consumers can report it and request the responsible state authority for market surveillance to eliminate the violation. If this application is rejected, legal action may also be taken via the administrative courts after 28.07.2025. Association actions are then also possible.
What happens if the deadlines are not met?
Market surveillance authorities can impose measures. These can range from mandatory rectification to withdrawal of the product from the market.
The following applies: “In the event of non-compliance, market surveillance authorities can restrict or prohibit the provision of the product or service or ensure that products are withdrawn or recalled. This affects not only manufacturers, but also distributors and importers.” (Source: The Federal Government Commissioner for Information Technology)
Beginning July 28, 2025, products and services specified in the Accessibility Strengthening Act must be marketed in a manner that enables equal and nondiscriminatory participation.
Failure to meet these deadlines can result in the product or service being removed from the market in the worst case!
Would you like to find out where you currently stand and what you need to do to comply with the act with your services and products? You can find our gap analysis and all other services related to accessibility here. Genre you can also contact us directly via our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!