Information For Employers In Germany Regarding Coronavirus

Author:Dr. Hagen Köckeritz
Profession:Mayer Brown

The rapid spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) also poses challenges for employers. This guide aims to provide an overview of useful measures and legal implications for employers in Germany.

Provide Information

In order to counteract a spread of disease, it is advisable for employers to provide their employees with comprehensive information.

In addition to general information about the virus, this information should include the following points in particular:

Avoid crowds Avoid contact with (sick) people Ensure regular hand hygiene Keep hands out of your face Sneeze and cough into the crook of your arm If you suspect that you may have been infected with Covid-19, stay at home and tell a doctor by phone Cleaning of the working place

Regular basic cleaning is part of general work hygiene. However, this should not be exaggerated without good reason. During an acute driving situation, it may be advisable to clean door handles, keyboards etc. more frequently, if this is not done anyway.

Workers who have fallen ill

If an employee shows symptoms in the workplace, the employer should send him/her to the (works) doctor and consider releasing him/her from work until the symptoms are cleared up. This applies not only to Covid-19 infection, but also to other infectious diseases. Every infection puts colleagues at risk, so even mild symptoms should be clarified.

Continued payment of remuneration the event of official closure

If a company is closed down because of the coronavirus on the instructions of the authorities, the employer is in principle still obliged to pay wages - although staff cannot be employed for external reasons. The employer bears the operational risk in this case. In situations where neither the employee nor the employer is responsible, employment contracts and collective agreements may provide for deviating provisions. However, such provisions may be enforceable only if formulated sufficiently clearly and explicitly.

At the same time, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs does not exclude the possibility of applying for short-time work compensation in such cases. This way a part of the remuneration would be paid by the employment agency. The main prerequisite for the payment of short-time work benefits is that an "unavoidable event" leads to considerable loss of work.

If possible and covered by the right to issue instructions, employers may also assign employees to work at other places. the case of the...

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