No compulsory home office in autumn

Tuesday, 27.09.2022

The number of corona cases is expected to rise again in autumn and winter. Infections could then also occur more frequently in the workplace. Health protection is therefore likely to become a top issue again. However, employers will not be obliged to offer home office to their employees in autumn and winter. This is true even if home office was already tried out during the pandemic and would be possible again now.



New Corona Health and Safety Ordinance passed

After the previous ordinance expired in spring, the federal government passed the next Corona Health and Safety Ordinance (“SARS-CoV-2-Arbeitsschutzverordnung“) on 31 August 2022. The ordinance regulates the obligations to contain the pandemic in the workplace.

In the original draft, the ordinance still envisaged obliging employers to offer home offices if it is somehow possible. Under the influence of the FDP and after criticism from the employers’ associations, it must now only be examined whether home office can and should be offered. Regardless of the outcome of the review, however, home office does not have to be offered afterwards.

Observe agreements on home office

The ordinance regulates cases in which there are otherwise no regulations on home office. Such as may be the case in employment contracts, employer / works council agreements or collective bargaining agreements. A claim to home office may also arise from the fact that comparable colleagues are allowed to use home office or that home office is permitted in the company as a whole. In such cases, individual counselling is recommended.


No obligation to test, no right to work from home


According to the new regulation, further protective measures such as


– maintaining a minimum distance of 1.5 metres between two persons,

– ensuring hand hygiene,

– adherence to cough and sneeze etiquette,

– ventilation of indoor areas to protect against infection,

– the reduction of contact between persons in the workplace


as well as testing offers are merely to be examined. These measures are not mandatory either. However, employers must have a company hygiene concept and communicate it to their employees. In any case, employers must always align their concept and its measures to the actual risks in the company. In individual cases, measures may therefore be necessary, even if the ordinance does not prescribe them.


The ordinance is valid for a limited period


The new Corona Health and Safety Ordinance comes into force on 1 October 2022 and expires on 7 April 2023.