German minister Hubertus Heil of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has indicated that legislation governing work from home will be introduced in that country.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced a change in patterns of work across the world. In Germany, prior to the outbreak, only around 11% of Germany’s workforce operated from home, at least occasionally. Millions have been compelled or have opted to work from home during the pandemic. Such arrangements are anticipated to become a growing part of work arrangements.
One of the issues Heil has referred to is the tendency of home-based work to intrude into personal time.
‘Nobody should be forced to be available for the employer around the clock — neither at home, nor the [normal workplace] office,’ Heil commented in a media interview.
Support for this measure has come from labour organisations, who have argued that there is a need to ensure that proper equipment and a working environment is available at people’s homes.
However, opponents of the move argued that it will create additional burdens on businesses, even though they were adapting to the reality anyway. Parliamentarian Jana Schimke of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, for example, asked: ‘Why must the state interfere in the innermost occupational processes, when we see that in the end, it takes care of itself?’