Germany plans return to 'working from home' rule in autumn

The Local Germany
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Germany plans return to 'working from home' rule in autumn
A man works from home in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Annette Riedl

Employers in Germany should allow people to work from home this autumn amid a possible Covid resurgence, according to plans from Labour Minister Hubertus Heil.


According to reports, Heil is proposing that firms once again let their staff do 'home office' from October instead of going into the workplace, in order to protect people from Covid. 

The draft bill for the SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety regulation from the Labour Ministry would run alongside Germany's Covid protection laws that come into force from October and run until April 7th next year. 

The culture around remote working changed dramatically when the Covid pandemic hit in 2020. Since then Germany has brought in mandatory 'home office' working rules at different stages of the pandemic. 

During these periods, companies are meant to offer people the opportunity to work from home unless there are operational reasons that don't allow it. 

READ ALSO: German Labour Minister wants to allow more remote working after pandemic


The most recent working from home obligation ended in March this year. 

But with rising Covid infections expected in the coming months, authorities in Germany are pushing for more protection for workers.

What do the proposals say?

The draft plans states that employers will have to draw up hygiene and safety concepts to protect people who do have to go into their place of work, while also allowing remote working.

These include a "reduction in operational personal contacts, and by offering employees the opportunity to work in a home office".

Employers should offer staff the opportunity to "carry out suitable activities in their homes if there are no compelling operational reasons to the contrary".

Furthermore, they should enable their employees to be vaccinated against Covid - if necessary - during working hours.

Employees who continue to go to their workplace will have to be offered a Covid test at least twice a week. And if minimum distances are not observed, face masks will have to be provided and worn by staff, under the draft proposals. 

The plans are still in the draft stage, but the Labour Ministry aims to push them through so they can come into force from October 1st.


Home office obligation - (die) Homeoffice-Pflicht 

Employers - (die) Arbeitgeber

Employees/staff - (die) Beschäftigte

Draft/plan - (der) Entwurf

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