Berlin, 15 January 2021.
The Corona crisis has presented our country and each and every one of us with great challenges in recent months. Nevertheless, we have been able to achieve a great deal together. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been saved through short-time work schemes. Numerous companies have received necessary state support.
The current number of infections and, in particular, the new variant of the coronavirus require us to make further efforts. Together, we must do everything we can to prevent further infections and thus protect the health and lives of many people. This applies not only to private life, but also to working life.
Employers, employees, works councils and staff councils have so far handled the difficult situation very responsibly. The implementation of pandemic plans, hygiene concepts and the SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety rules agreed between the social partners, the Federal Government and the Länder and accident insurance institutions have meant that the workplace is a safe place by comparison.
Nevertheless, we now need to further limit contacts and reduce mobility. Working in a home office contributes to this. Home office is not suitable for every profession or job. Production, manufacturing, nursing, and the supply of essential goods, for example, require presence. Often, operational procedures also speak against it. Where possible, companies already largely offer home office to their employees. However, more can be done - whereby employers, employees and works councils have a joint duty to use this option responsibly.
We appeal to employers, personnel managers and executives - wherever possible - to offer their employees home office in this situation. At the same time, we appeal to employees to accept these offers as far as reasonable and possible and to work from home.
We know that for many companies, home offices represent a financial, organisational and also data security burden. For employees, home office can be a social and emotional burden. Home office to this extent is an exception that the current pandemic requires. We are confident that with a concerted effort and the vaccinations underway, we can overcome these challenges.