Because of the coronavirus pandemic, mobile working has increased significantly, especially from home. In this exceptional situation, the law planned by Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) for a legal right to work from home is of particular importance. Heil has now announced that the legislation will place particular emphasis on employee protection – especially on the issue of working hours. This is reported by the editorial network Germany (RND).
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Not available around the clock
Heil told the RND that nobody should be forced to be available for the employer around the clock. This shouldn’t happen in the office or at home. The home office is “about work that fits in with life”. The Minister of Labor wants to present a “comprehensive set of rules for home office and mobile working” this autumn, which will give employees new freedoms, but at the same time protect them from a “complete dissolution of work into private life”. Even before the Corona era, it was found that working from home can lead to more overtime.
Heil referred to the coronavirus pandemic as an “unplanned large-scale attempt at home office” with both positive and negative experiences. Acceptance and satisfaction are generally high among employees working from home. And mobile working is generally trusted to have a lasting effect on the working world in Germany and to advance the “digital transformation” that could loosen the perceived obsolescence of being present in German companies.
Flexible employees – flexible companies
With employer representatives, however, a legally anchored right to work from home is rejected. They criticize the planned law as a “political slow-moving” and would prefer measures that promote growth and flexibility in companies instead of new requirements. Heil admits to the entrepreneurs that they want flexible employees. However, in return, the companies would also have to be flexible, Heil told the RND. “We will not demand anything impossible from employers,” said Heil. “It is about enabling home office where it is feasible. The baker will not be able to work from home in the future either”.