As of March 20, 2022, the German legislator updated the German SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (SARS-CoV-2-Arbeitsschutzverordnung) and loosed the obligations of German employers for implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In particular, the implementation of the following measures will no longer be mandatory for German employers:
- Workplace access controls to verify whether employees are either vaccinated, tested negative against, or recovered from, Covid-19
- Offering employees the possibility to work from home
- Providing free of charge self-testing twice a week to employees who do not work exclusively from home.
However, employers are still required to prepare and implement operational hygiene plans, carry out an assessment of the infection risks at the workplace (based on the work arrangements such as number of employees, shared offices, type of work, etc.) and implement hygienic standards addressing all measures that the employees working in Germany should comply with to reduce infection risks in the workplace. Based on the employer’s risk assessment, the employer can decide whether the implementation of preventative measures such as the provision of free COVID-19 self-testing, face masks or offering home office are required to ensure the employees’ health and safety.
In addition, employers shall continue supporting COVID-19 vaccinations with the following measures:
- Employees are entitled to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination during working hours
- The employer shall provide organizational and personnel support to the company doctor (Betriebsarzt) (if any exists) who carries out COVID-19 vaccinations in the company
- Employees shall be informed of the health risks of a COVID-19 infection and the possibility of a protective vaccination
The revised German SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation will apply until 25 May 2022. Please see our OnPoint if you are interested in information about the previous applicable occupational health and safety workplace requirements in connection with Covid-19.