The home office obligation has also been re-activated as of today. With this newsletter, we provide you with a brief overview of the most important (new) regulations.
The Corona Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance (Corona-ArbSchV) is extended up to and including March 19, 2022. Therefore, the following rules (continue to) apply:
- Employers must continue to offer in their businesses rapid antigen testing or self-testing at least twice a week for all employees working on site; exceptions are made for fully vaccinated or recovered employees.
- Based on a risk assessment, employers must develop company hygiene concepts or adapt existing concepts and make them accessible to their employees in a suitable manner. In addition, reference is made to the SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety regulations and the industry-specific practical assistance provided by the accident insurance institutions.
- The obligation to wear face masks remains in place wherever technical or organizational measures do not provide adequate protection. Further details can be found in the company's hygiene concept.
- Company-related personal contacts must still be restricted.
- Simultaneous use of rooms by more than one person shall be kept to the minimum necessary.
- Infection protection must also be maintained during break times and in recreation areas.
- Employers must continue to contribute to increasing the willingness to get vaccinated by informing employees about the risks of a COVID-19 disease and existing opportunities for vaccination, supporting company physicians in offering vaccination at work, and releasing employees for of off-site vaccination appointments.
In addition, there are new regulations in Art. 28 b of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG), which also apply up to and including March 19, 2022:
- Vaccinated-tested-recovered regulation at the workplace: employers and employees must carry proof of vaccination or recovery or a daily certificate of a negative Corona test when entering the workplace.
- Employers must check whether employees and visitors comply with such obligation and document these checks.
- Home office obligation: In the case of office work or comparable activities, the employer must offer the employees the opportunity to perform these activities at home if there are no compelling operational reasons to the contrary. The employees must accept this offer if there are no reasons to the contrary for their part. A claim to work from home for unvaccinated persons cannot be derived from such obligation.
The tightened rules entail many labor law-related problems and practical questions for employers. How do I deal with employees who refuse to present their proof of vaccination or recovery? What specifically may or must be documented by the employer and for how long? What privacy requirements must be observed? What tests must a non-vaccinated person take? Does testing count as work time? Who has to bear the cost of testing?