Corona test obligation in companies: Cabinet decides on offers in companies

The resistance of the economy has been of no use: The Federal Cabinet has decided on an obligation for companies to provide a range of corona tests. The plans call for companies in Germany Offer their employees compulsory corona tests if they are not working in the home office.

»In principle, companies have to offer their employees a test offer once a week. Only in exceptional cases may the obligation include two tests per week, ”said the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The decision is merely an obligation to make an offer; there is no obligation to test for employees. There should also be no documentation requirement.

Federal Minister of Economics had long been Peter Altmaier (CDU) resisted such a decision and relied on the voluntary nature of companies. Only last he gave up his resistance.

According to the Federal Ministry of Labor, the changes are expected to come into force in the middle of next week. This means that there is now “an obligation for companies to offer tests. In this way we can prevent chains of infection, protect health and ultimately avoid company closings, ”said Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) the new regulation. "This new obligation has become necessary so that really all employees in the company receive a test offer." The minister spoke of around 40 percent.

Mandatory home office extended until the end of June

Since the infection process is still a cause for concern, Heil also announced that it would extend the existing Corona Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance, including the obligation to work from home, until June 30, 2021; for on-site activities, there are also further requirements for distance, ventilation and wearing a mask. "Anyone who can work in the home office must be made possible by their employer," said Heil. "This is how we reduce the risk of infection while on the move and through colleagues."

For many companies, such an obligation to make an offer does not change much from the point of view of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. According to the ministry, around 70 percent of the companies are now offering their employees weekly test options, with additional offers being added. This was also borne out by the federal government's surveys last week. In mid-March it was still around 35 percent.

The cost of the tests must be borne by the employer. Finance ministers had previously made calls from business to pay for the tests Olaf Scholz (SPD) rejected.