The home office obligation is back

In the future, employers must once again allow home office work wherever it is feasible. With the new "Act Amending the Infection Protection Act and Other Laws" In addition to the 3G regulation at the workplace, a legal obligation to allow home office will also apply again in the future.

The Bundestag passed a resolution on 18. November 2021 the "Act on the Amendment of the Infection Protection Act and Other Laws" on the occasion of the repeal of the determination of epidemic situation of national scope decided. The Federal Council approved this law on 19. Approved November 2021.

The law provides for a set of measures applicable nationwide to combat the corona pandemic. Among other things, employers are once again required to allow employees to work from home in the case of office work or comparable activities. This will apply when the law comes into force on 24. November 2021.

Obligation for employers to offer home office

The obligation for employers to offer home office wherever possible existed before. It ended at the 30. June 2021 and was most recently contained in § 28b para. 7 of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG). The new law reintroduces the obligation to offer home office – regardless of the existence of an epidemic situation of national scope.

The new regulation in § 28 b para. 4 IfSG corresponds to the wording of the previous regulation and obliges employers to offer their employees, in the case of office work or comparable activities, to carry out these activities in their homes. The regulation is initially limited in time to 19. March 2022.

Home office obligation: exceptions only for compelling operational reasons

In the future, employers must again allow home office wherever there are no "compelling operational reasons" for doing so oppose. There are only compelling business-related reasons for not offering a home office if the company lacks the necessary work equipment or the existing IT infrastructure is insufficient for this purpose. Other organizational impediments are not enough. The Infection Protection Act does not contain a minimum company size that exempts small companies from the obligation to offer home office work.

Obligation for employees to work in the home office

The regulation in the Infection Protection Act not only obligates the employer, but at the same time creates a corresponding obligation for the employees. In other words, employees must accept the employer’s offer unless there are reasons for them not to do so.

Reasons for employees not to accept the home office offer

Accordingly, employees must work from home if their employer offers them the opportunity to do so. Reasons that it is not possible for employees to do so may include space constraints, interference from third parties, or inadequate technical equipment.

Download tip: "Practical questions and answers on the subject of home office

Do employees have a legal right to home office? Do the regulations of the working time law apply to the work in the home office? How must a home office workstation be equipped and who bears the corresponding costs??

These and many other questions are answered in the free Haufe white paper "Practical questions and answers on the subject of home office" clarified, which you can download here.

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