New Corona occupational health and safety ordinance

Corona mask

updated on 04/20/2021

On January 20th, 2021, the Federal Cabinet issued a Corona occupational health and safety ordinance decided to oblige employers to allow their employees to work from home until March 15, 2021, if the activity allows this.

Duty of the home office offer:

• Employers are obliged to their employees Home office to offer.

• Employees should accept the offer as much as they can.

However, there is no obligation for employees to switch to the home office if they do not want to. The reason for this is the fundamental right to the inviolability of the home (Art. 13 GG). On the other hand, there are numerous other factual reasons (no suitable screen workstation, spatial confinement) that can preclude such an obligation on the part of employees.

• If rooms have to be used by several people at the same time, 10 m² per person must be available.

• In companies with ten or more employees, these must be divided into as small, fixed working groups as possible.

• Employers must at least provide medical face masks.

These protective measures continue to apply:

Companies are required to reduce contacts within the company as much as possible.

• The minimum distance of 1.5 meters to other people must be observed, also in canteen and break rooms.

• Wherever encounters take place, employees must wear mouth and nose protection as far as possible.

• Employers must provide liquid soap and towel dispensers in sanitary facilities.

• Regular ventilation must be guaranteed.

The SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance comes into force on the fifth day after its promulgation. This time is available to the employer to prepare for the implementation.

You can find the regulation here.

Does your employer not comply with the protective measures? Let one of our experts advise you. We are happy to provide you with advice and assistance.

Update 04/20/2021

On April 13, 2021, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil explained to the Federal Cabinet how he would extend and supplement the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (Corona-ArbSchV). The changes will be made by Regulation [PDF, 239KB] and entered into force on April 20th, 2021.

The following applies:

Employers are obliged to offer all employees regular self-tests and quick tests in their companies:

• Basically at least once a week

• for employees at particular risk at least twice a week. Employees who are housed in shared accommodation by their employer must also receive a test offer twice a week.

• The cost of the tests must be borne by the employer.

The following regulations were extended until June 30, 2021:

• Employers are also obliged to offer home offices.

• Maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 m from other people.

• Wear medical face mask or breathing masks.

• Employers must provide medical mouth and nose protection or respirators.

• Employers must ensure adequate hand hygiene in the workplace.

• Regular ventilation must be guaranteed.

• If rooms have to be used by several people at the same time, 10 m² must be available per person.

• In companies with 10 or more employees, these must be divided into as small, fixed working groups as possible. Contact between the groups should be avoided.

The responsible occupational health and safety authorities can enforce compliance with all requirements of the ordinance in individual cases through official orders and punish violations of their order with a fine of up to € 30,000.

Kathrin Roller

Kathrin Roller

Lawyer for labor law in Leipzig

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