According to reports in the German media, certain groups of vaccinated people could soon lose their wages if they have to go into quarantine after having contact with an infected person.
The potential shift in rules was laid out by parliamentary lawyers in a brief obtained by German daily Bild.
“The absence of the Covid-19 booster vaccination would lead to the exclusion of the claim for compensation,” the brief allegedly states.
Though nothing concrete is in the pipeline yet, the change would primarily affect people who had received their Covid jabs in or before October last year but haven’t yet received a booster jab.
According to Bild, it would also affect people who weren’t fully vaccinated yet, such as people who have only had one jab.
This would be justified by the fact that the need to quarantine could have been avoided by a “publicly recommended” third vaccination, the lawyers write.
Currently, only unvaccinated workers in quarantine cases face the prospect of lost wages if they have to quarantine due to a suspected Covid infection. This is one of the ways in which the government had hoped to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid.
To avoid massive staff shortages during the Omicron wave, federal and state leaders have recently agreed on a set of changes to Germany’s quarantine rules.
Under the new laws, people who’ve had a booster shot and people who had their second jab less than three months ago are exempt from having to quarantine after contacted with an infected person.
However, everyone with a confirmed Covid infection has to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status. This group would still receive sick pay if they have to self-isolate.
If the proposals laid out in the brief are taken up by the government, they would mean that anyone who isn’t exempt from quarantine faces a loss of wages for up to ten days.
This is the amount of time people with a suspected Covid infection must generally quarantine, though this can be shortened to seven days with a negative test.
Opposition politicians said that the plans to change the rules could only be justified if people were able to get a rapid appointment for a booster.
CDU MEP Dennis Radtke, who specialises in workers’ issues, told Bild: “If you want to do something like this, you have to make sure that everyone can get a quick booster shot. It can’t be the case that workers end up paying for the bad Covid management of the federal government.”
Others, meanwhile, appealed to workers to get their full course of vaccinations.
“In order not to place unnecessary burdens on society, employees should strive for the highest possible level of his or her own protection,” CDU/CSU parliamentary secretary Thorsten Frei told Bild. “Those who expressly forego this protection should also be prepared to bear the consequences.”
As of Thursday, 75.3 percent of the population had received at least one Covid jab, while 73.1 percent were fully vaccinated and 48.9 percent had received a booster.