Masks, testing, home office: what will now change in the workplace

Home office

The social partners gave a clear rejection of a possible “home office obligation” on Saturday, but a clear “appeal” was conceivable, it said. Against this background, a quick and understandable home office regulation seems even more necessary. As is well known, the former Labor Minister Christine Aschbacher had announced a solution by March. Obviously things are going much faster now. The social partners and the Ministry of Labor do not want to talk about details of the home office regulation yet. However, there is an agreement and the draft has been submitted to the Treasury Department. This is about the question of which costs should be tax deductible in what amount in the home office. So far, in Corona times, only accident insurance cover and commuter flat rate could be claimed when working from home.

Compulsory test

Regular corona tests can be prescribed for certain professional groups. This regulates a new general collective agreement of the social partners for industries that are currently affected by the lockdown: such as trade, hospitality or body-friendly services. The minister of health must prescribe which professional groups the mandatory test will apply to. The tests are to be carried out during working hours, with continued payment of remuneration. Employees without compulsory tests should take tests outside of working hours and can also take a day off for this. One thing is certain: no employee may be disadvantaged for participating in Covid tests or dismissed on the basis of a positive test result.

Mask requirement

At least experts would like a general FFP2 mask requirement in closed rooms and also at the workplace. Regardless of this, the General-KV now applies: Employees who are obliged to wear a mask may take it off after three hours for at least ten minutes. You don’t necessarily have to take a break for this. A saleswoman could work in the warehouse during this time, where they can remove the mask. Is the employee obliged to take a mask break? No.

Short-time work and unemployment benefits

The current short-time working phase will expire at the end of March. The new Labor Minister Martin Kocher would like to present a new concept in February. An extension of the scheme is realistic. Anyone who has become unemployed as a result of the crisis has bad cards with the new minister on one point: An increase in unemployment benefits is out of the question for Kocher. Currently you get 55 percent of your last income.


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