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11 questions about work in the corona pandemic

Working in the Corona crisis: What rights do I have as an employee?imago images / Westend61

Can my boss send me to the home office because he or she thinks I’m sick?

If there is reasonable evidence, then yes. This is also intended to protect colleagues. However, in this case, your boss cannot ask you to continue working at home. If you have the will and ability to work and you are released from work, you are always entitled to remuneration (§ 3 EFZG and § 615 BGB).

Can my supervisor generally send me to the home office as a precaution?

Employers have no rights in their employees’ private homes. Therefore, no unilateral instruction can be given, only an agreement between both parties can be reached. In addition, a specific permanent establishment is usually named in the employment contract.

Can I stay home if I am afraid of being infected at work?

No, as an employee you are not entitled to work from home. If you still stay at home it is a breach of duty. In this case, there is no entitlement to payment of remuneration. If you are absent without excuse, this can lead to a warning or even termination.

So there is neither the right nor the obligation to work in the home office. As work is done differently in different industries and companies, there are also individual occupational safety concepts. In the case of a specific suspected case or a confirmed infection in the company, working from home should be weighed up in the context of the duty of care and company interests. Superiors must provide all work equipment for the home office.

Can I be forced to return from the home office?

Just as your employer cannot force you to work from home, your boss cannot simply let you return to the business premises. The duration of the home office depends on your mutual agreement. Here both sides have to adhere to the rules, deadlines and conditions that they have agreed in advance.

How do I currently have to behave at work?

You do not have to take any protective measures yourself. You are not obliged to do so. The responsibility for this lies solely with the employer.

Do I have to give my manager my private mobile phone number?

This seems very practical, especially for working from home, but you can decide that too.

May my boss commit myself to using the Corona warning app?

With the Corona warning app, the federal government relies on double voluntariness: both setting up and forwarding the warning is the responsibility of the users. Even if the app is used voluntarily on a company cell phone, superiors do not have the right to issue instructions in their free time. If you switch off your mobile phone at the end of the day, the goal of seamless follow-up will be missed anyway.

The data protection conference of the federal and state governments (DSK) announces:

“[D]he approach of voluntariness [darf] may not be undermined by improper use: Access to official facilities, workplaces, retail outlets, restaurants and accommodation facilities, sports facilities, etc. may not be made dependent on presentation of the app. This would be an improper use that is already incompatible with the concept of voluntariness. Any discrimination against people who do not use the app can be ruled out. “

Do I have to tell where I was on vacation?

Not under normal circumstances. However, since we are currently in a pandemic, the employer’s duty of care is a particularly central issue. It is therefore possible to query and save at the moment whether you have recently been in one of the risk areas that the Robert Koch Institute has identified as such.

Can my boss ask me who I have private contact with?

Since this is your free time, it is also your decision and is none of your superiors’ business. However, if you have had contact with someone infected with the coronavirus, you must answer this question truthfully.

Who can order quarantine?

As soon as the suspicion of infection with the corona virus is proven, you must inform your employer. If the doctor has not already done so, the competent authority will be informed, which will determine the quarantine measures. Depending on the course and degree of the disease, the quarantine takes place at home or in another suitable facility.

I got infected with the corona virus. Can my boss tell the other employees about this?

Basically yes, but you have to weigh up. The search for contact persons and the information or isolation would be made easier. On the other hand, you might be uncomfortable with the attribution if you fear stigmatization. As long as possible, your supervisors should avoid naming infected people. The exception is when this is essential to protect others.


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