In a year and a half of the pandemic, there are a few things you’ve gotten used to, including the fact that the meaning of either rule is not immediately apparent. For example, you were allowed to leave the house with your dog late at night for a while, but not with your husband. Or: The family could visit the grandmother, but not the grandfather at the same time, as he would have been a second person outside the home. The epidemiological interest of the ping-pong tables in the park was not necessarily obvious either.
Because there should be no more lockdowns and contact restrictions (at least for unvaccinated people), according to the government, this could now be over with such bizarre things. But it’s not.
On Wednesday, the cabinet is supposed to approve the latest amendment to the Corona Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance of Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD). Employers will find hope for regulations that will allow them to adapt their hygiene measures to the vaccination or convalescent status of their employees. If you keep reading, however, you should start thinking. Because in the explanatory memorandum to the draft regulation it is specified that a “right of the employer to information on the vaccination or convalescent status of employees” does not result from this provision.
More group meetings, more contacts, more teams, less strict distancing rules: many things would now be possible in the company if the employees concerned are fully vaccinated or have recovered. Only: if on the one hand the vaccination status is a prerequisite for all this, on the other hand it remains the secret of the employees. Of course, they can voluntarily present the vaccination app in front of their boss, and many likely will too. But can this seriously be the basis for how work processes are organized during the pandemic? While at the same time, hardly anyone has a problem taking out their favorite Italian’s vaccination certificate, at the gym or when entering the theater?
The insistence on data protection rules is sometimes disproportionate
It is nothing new that data protection in Germany sometimes complicates matters. Data protection rules aren’t always as bad as their reputation. But especially in a crisis where pragmatic action is absolutely essential to get things done, the emphasis on business as usual data sometimes seems disproportionate. Who, for example, doesn’t remember how state governments banned Microsoft Teams from distance learning during the first lockdown for data protection reasons – but at the same time, they couldn’t say what take instead? The result was that principals had the choice of either not doing distance education at all for the time being – or behaving against the rules, with all the looming consequences.
Of course, protecting health data is no small feat. One cannot imagine a world of work in which the HR department would have the right to inspect the medical files of candidates. Whether someone is depressed, has cancer or has a heart problem: this information should be and remain a private matter. However, the right to be able to question the Covid 19 vaccine status of employees for at least a few months is not the first step in becoming a transparent employee. The corona pandemic is a state of emergency. And it’s just not possible to do everything as always if nothing is as always.
People who have been vaccinated and recovering should no longer be restricted – this political promise has been in the room since the start of the vaccination campaign. And of course, this promise urgently needs to be fully fulfilled, and not just in private. It should also apply to work and professional life. If employers are once again reasonably granted greater freedoms, since a large part of their workforce is vaccinated (in some cases even by their own occupational physician), they must of course also be able to make use of these freedoms. . Everything else would be bogus politics, but not crisis management.