But especially now we should reflect on what is succeeding despite everything. Because despite all the necessary health restrictions, companies in Germany are making an outstanding contribution to overcoming the crisis. They develop and produce, they create wealth and thus provide work in the best sense - and thus support in difficult times. And they do all this while adhering to sophisticated and well thought-out hygiene concepts.
Corona poses enormous challenges for everyone. Working life is particularly affected. Of particular topicality are the handling of holiday returnees and the application of the Infection Protection Act. Legal uncertainty exists in particular due to the large number of statutory regulations that allow unclarified scope for interpretation and the inconsistent practice of the authorities in this respect. The legislature is called upon to close existing regulatory gaps.
Legal certainty is particularly important in times of pandemic. For companies - especially those with sites in different parts of Germany - it is essential that the regulations on quarantine and compensation apply and are applied uniformly. The considerable economic burdens must not be shifted further onto companies. If the employer cannot employ a worker for reasons of infection control, any loss of earnings must be borne by the state.
The actions taken by federal and state governments to contain the Corona pandemic have hit society, business and labor hard. To safeguard prosperity and jobs, businesses affected by plant closure should be entitled to compensation. There is also a need to develop smart measures for restarting economic life. A key element of this is greater planning certainty and a moratorium on burdens. The last thing that is needed now is new burdens and new regulations.
As the Confederation of German Employers' Associations, we have always sought constructive dialogue with our social partner and politicians. It does not take much for business to use its strength to help Germany out of the crisis. Against this backdrop, it is also important to see the pandemic as an opportunity for long overdue reforms; as an opportunity to strengthen the social partnership, to reduce bureaucracy, to relaunch the Working Hours Act and to permanently virtualise works council work in line with the age of digitalisation - to name just a few of the many possibilities.
Dealing with Corona raises new and old questions of labour law, which the BDA discusses in a constant exchange with its members. In addition to compensation claims under the Infection Protection Act and the return from risk areas, the resolutions of the so-called "Corona Summit" and ongoing legislative procedures are particularly topical. In addition, day-to-day questions arise on occupational health and safety, in particular on how to deal with suspected cases in the company, exemptions from the mask requirement, accommodation bans for business travellers, the use of the Corona app and short-time working, as well as mobile working.
Occupational Health & Safety & Covid-19 Particularly in recent months, the extensive occupational health and safety measures have helped to contain the pandemic as best as possible while still keeping the economy stable (as best they could). Employers have therefore been actively involved in the development of appropriate measures, which can be found in the SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety rule issued by the BMAS. In addition to these cross-industry rules, the Berufsgenossenschaften have recommended numerous measures specific to the industries, which employers have implemented early and conscientiously. This is also shown by the study of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Almost 80 % of the companies implement special regulations for occupational safety and health in the Corona crisis and in 98 % of these companies the management is involved in their development and implementation.
In practice, the Infection Protection Act raises numerous questions of application that create legal uncertainty. Since the Corona pandemic is a special situation for which there is a lack of comparable cases, it is important to look closely at each individual case and assess it from a legal perspective. The aim remains to safeguard operational processes to the greatest possible extent and to ensure the health and safety of employees.
The use of the app can contribute to the fight against infection. If a report is made to the employer, he is entitled to do everything necessary from an organisational point of view to stop the further spread of the infection. In order to increase the willingness of employees to use the warning app of their own free will, it should be clearly regulated in the Infection Protection Act that a claim for compensation arises in the event of a report.
In order to contain the pandemic, to maintain operations and, for example, to enable childcare during the Corona crisis, many companies would like to offer the possibility of working from home, in the so-called home office, for the first time or increasingly. In principle, the employee has no right to perform his or her work outside the workplace. Something else applies if such a right arises from his employment contract or, for example, a works agreement. In contrast, the employer may be entitled to unilaterally order home office in the event of an increased risk in the company, for example due to cases of infection or justified suspicions among employees.
Current amendments to the law and resolutions
Draft bill for a third civil protection law
Decision of the Federal Chancellor with the Minister Presidents of the Länder of 28 October 2020
Resolution of the Federal Joint Committee on Health Care on telephone sick notes of 15 October 2020