The German government recently published a new amendment of the SARS-Cov-2-Occupational Health and Safety regulation (the “Regulation”) to introduce a short employer-paid leave for employees to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus during their working hours.
The new amendment entered into effect on 10 September 2021, and is expected to be effective until 24 November 2021.
The Regulation, which specifies the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Standard published in April 2020, entered into effect on 20 August 2020, and has been amended multiple times since to adapt to the pandemic situation. The Regulation sets out temporary occupational and safety measures for COVID-19 prevention in the workplace.
The SARS-Cov-2-Occupational Health and Safety regulation was due to expire on 10 September 2021, but will extend with the new amendment to 24 November 2021.
As the vaccination campaign accelerates, the German government amended the Regulation by introducing a short employer-paid COVID-19 vaccination leave to encourage as many people as possible to be vaccinated.
The exact number of hours of the vaccination leave is not clearly specified as the amended Regulation states that employers are mandated to “release employees to take advantage of vaccination offers.” The exact duration of the short vaccination leave will depend on the circumstances of each employee. However, employees are required to do their best to return to work as soon as possible after getting vaccinated. In addition, employees are required to notify their employer of their intention to utilize the short leave in advance of their scheduled vaccination day.
The vaccination leave applies to all employers and all employees for each required injection until employees are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
The amended regulation also mandates employers to:
- Inform their employees about the risks related to COVID-19 and the vaccination options against this disease
- Provide organizational and support staff to company doctors when vaccination is carried out in the workplace
The employer’s obligation to offer bi-weekly COVID-19 tests and to implement measures that prevent the spread of COVID-19 (wearing masks, social distancing, etc.) continues to be enforced by the amended Regulation.
This article was written in collaboration with our German Global Partner: