The way the federal government and the states deal with Corona is absurd. While kindergartens and schools are closed and private meetings are reduced to a minimum, most businesses continue to operate. Politicians are simply asking companies to create home-office opportunities – with apparently diminishing success: despite high Corona infection rates and mutated variants of the virus, only half as many employees are working from home in the current second shutdown as in spring 2020, according to the latest figures.
A right to a home office?
Kathrin Goring-Eckardt, head of the Green parliamentary group, is now calling for a right to home office for employees, along with a bonus for companies where this form of work is feasible but not offered. The idea of a legal right to home office is not new, but German Labor Minister Hubertus Heil of the SPD withdrew his demand for it last November and continues to rely on a voluntary approach. Meanwhile, the business community is fighting back and contradicting the demands.
Is this enough as a building block to fight the pandemic? Or should home office better be mandatory during Corona? We have obtained two opposing opinions on the matter. Dr. Oliver Stettes is head of the Labor Market and the World of Work competence area at the Institute of the German Economy in Koln and considers a home office obligation to be wrong "because this form of work is not possible for the majority of employees anyway". Harald Fadinger, professor of economics at the University of Mannheim, argues in favor of mandatory home offices because "more home offices means less contagion.