In a new bill, Minister of Labor Heil demands a legal right to work from home 24 days a year. The union federation is crucial.
According to the will of Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), employees should in the future be legally entitled to at least 24 days at home office per year – ”provided there are no understandable reasons against it. As the “Bild am Sonntag” reports, Heil has completed the announced “Mobile Work Act”. According to the minister, it stipulates that an employer may only refuse a request for mobile working if there are organizational or operational reasons for doing so.
Right to work mobile
“Wherever possible, all employees should have a legal right of at least 24 days per year to work mobile,” Heil told the newspaper. “If both parents have a job where mobile working is possible, then according to my suggestion one parent can take turns working from home one day a week.
Heil also justified its advance with the experience of the Corona period. “The virus has taught us that much more mobile working is possible than we thought. Mobile working is not only something for young people from desks sitting in cafes with laptops and latte macchiatos. Because mobile working has become part of the modern working world for some. heard, but not yet made possible for many, it also needs a law. “
Criticism from the DGB
The German Trade Union Federation (DGB) considers the plans insufficient. “The planned legal entitlement of a maximum of 24 days is clearly not enough. That means just one day of mobile work every two weeks,” said DGB boss Reiner Hoffmann. That hardly does justice to the needs of many employees. “Such a minimum requirement is a concession to employers who are still blocking the issue.”
Salvation would like to see the 24 days as a lower limit. Employees and employers can also make agreements about more working from home in collective labor agreements or company agreements. “All employees have the right to negotiate mobile working with their boss,” said Heil. “Of course a baker cannot bake bread at home.”
However, it is no longer possible for employers to refuse mobile working in principle. “In the future, boss and employees will negotiate on an equal footing,” said Heil. In addition, the law prescribes that working hours at the home office must be recorded digitally. “Working from home shouldn’t mean that you can’t stop working. Even in the home office, work has to end at some point.”
Accident insurance needs to be adjusted
Statutory accident insurance must also continue to apply: “Statutory accident insurance covers the way to work. For mobile working, for example, the way to childcare or school and from there back to the home office must be insured”, says Heil.
According to the report, the Federal Department of Labor has ordered an investigation into home offices in the corona pandemic. According to this data, 36 percent of dependent employees worked from home in July and August – this equates to a total of about 14.6 million employees. In the same period last year, the share was 24 percent. 87 percent of those who worked from home during the pandemic were “very satisfied” or “satisfied”.
The plans of the rescue are not without controversy. FDP labor market expert Johannes Vogel called a modern legal framework for mobile working “a long time ago”, but criticized that Heil apparently did not want to change the Working Hours Act at all. “This law in particular is completely outdated. We urgently need more freedom where and when we work,” said Vogel.
Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier (CDU) had already opposed the introduction of a legal right to home office in May. “Above all, we need less bureaucracy, not always new state guarantees,” he told the DPA.