Safety at work: sensitive subject – economy

This Wednesday, the cabinet is expected to consider again an amendment to the “Ordinance on occupational safety and health Sars-CoV-2” – the set of rules with which the Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) has already given companies in times of pandemic the obligation to test, the supply of medical masks to their employees or, in the meantime, the obligation to offer home offices.

The focus is now on vaccination during working hours. Because in the bill, which is available to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, it says: “The employer must allow employees to be vaccinated against the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus during working hours.” The move is part of the government’s strategy to make immunization as low as possible – in order at least to convince those who have so far said ‘no’ out of comfort rather than skepticism about it. the vaccination.

From the employer’s point of view, however, another point is apparently more explosive. Employers learned on Monday that on the one hand they did not like the “compulsory test offer” in companies – especially in the context of the fact that the so-called citizen tests will soon pay off, while at the same time the 3-G rule for many areas of public life means more stringent testing obligations for all unvaccinated people. The concern of employers: a run on tests in companies which are still free for employees in order to avoid costs in test centers.

On the other hand, there are resentments vis-à-vis the regulations for vaccinated and convalescent people. According to the amendment to the ordinance, an employer can “take into account a vaccination or recovery status known to employees” in its measures to protect against infections. But the question is: how does he find out who has been vaccinated and who has recovered? For reasons of data protection, it is generally not authorized to ask simply: “The employer’s right to information on the vaccination or convalescent status of the employees does not result from this provision”, specifies the explanatory part. of the project.

Employers said clarification was expected from the government; the regulation creates “confusion”. Indeed, the project specifies that the company’s hygiene concepts could be adapted on the basis of “voluntary information provided by employees”. However, if the employer is unaware of their people’s immunization or recovery status, they must assume, according to the order, that this status does not exist either – without being allowed to request it. The newly created possibility of adapting the hygiene rules would thus remain theoretical.

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