As fall is upon us and case numbers are expected to rise, the federal government is working full speed ahead on new protective measures for the coming six months to combat the impending wave of new infections.
The German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has now presented a draft bill (still unpublished to this date), which is intended to provide for a return of the home office obligation.
After this obligation was initially dropped with effect from March 20 (we reported), employers might now be required to offer their employees the opportunity to perform their respective work from home again from October 1. The draft is said to provide for exceptions, which have not yet been announced, however.
In addition, according to information to date, stricter regulations will also apply to office work from October 1:
- First of all, employers will need to have to design a hygiene concept that provides for proven protective measures. According to the current status, the latter should include, for example, contact reduction in the company. This is to be achieved, for example, by using home offices or “by reducing the simultaneous use of rooms”.
- Furthermore, employers should ensure that employees can attend an appointment for Corona vaccination during working hours.
- And last but not least, the obligation to test and provide masks in the workplace will return: If employees continue to perform their work on site, the employer will be obligated to provide medical masks to the employees. These masks must be worn if the minimum distances cannot be maintained. In addition, employees must have the opportunity to be tested for the Corona virus at least twice a week.
The planned regulations will initially apply for a limited period until April 7, 2023. It remains to be seen to what extent the contents of the draft bill will ultimately be enshrined in law.
We will keep you informed of any further developments.