Yesterday we reported in a blog post that in the last video conference of the German Chancellor with the Minister Presidents of the federal states it was decided to declare Maundy Thursday (April 1) and Easter Saturday (April 3) as exceptional “days off” as part of an extended “lockdown”. After the decisions became known, criticism was voiced from many sides. Now the Chancellor has reacted to the criticism and, in a conference with the Minister Presidents of the federal states on March 24, 2021 at 11:00 a.m., abandoned the rest days on Easter, as she herself announced at a press conference immediately afterwards.
From the perspective of labor law, the announcement of rest days at very short notice caused considerable uncertainty, as this would have meant dealing with a completely new terminology that was hitherto unknown in the German legal system. It initially remained unclear whether a day of rest was to be equivalent to a public holiday or Sunday, which would have prohibited work by law if no exceptional circumstances had expressly permitted it. Since no information was initially provided on the financing of rest days either, it was to be feared that these would have placed an additional burden on employers. In the end, it was also unclear to what extent the rest days would have affected all employees who would have worked in the home office without the risk of infection.
Now that the rest days have been canceled, it should now be clear that both Maundy Thursday (April 1) and Easter Saturday (April 3) are considered working days under the provisions of the Working Hours Act, as before, and can basically be worked as planned.
With this in mind, we wish you peaceful Easter days. Stay healthy!