Coronavirus: German minister wants to put the right to work from home into law

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2nd R) gives a thumbs up as she talks with German Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R), German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (L, sitting) and German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil prior to the weekly cabinet meeting on August 21, 2019 at the Chancellery in Berlin. Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images

German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil is trying to get the right to work-from-home (WFH) into law.

According to an interview in the country’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper (link in German), he is working on legislation that will give employees the right to WFH and will present the case later in the year. The core of the proposal is to allow staff to work from home for the whole time or at least for one or two days a week.

"Everyone who wants to and whose workplace allows it should be able to work in a home office - even when the coronavirus pandemic is over," said Heil, a Social Democrat (SPD), in the interview.

The world is currently gripped by the global spread of the coronavirus. Germany, like many other countries, placed its citizens under lockdown, preventing the opening of non-essential businesses and enforcing strict measures on public life. However, it has put WFH into the spotlight — with about 25% of Germans now estimated to be working from home, up from about 12% normally.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Germany makes wearing face masks compulsory

This week, Germany took the first steps towards easing the country-wide lockdown. Small shops of up to 800m floor-space will be allowed to reopen, including car dealerships. Some classes in primary and secondary schools are allowed to begin from 4 May.

Strict lockdowns still apply to public movement — only groups of two will be allowed, with the exception of members of one family. The 1.5 metre social distance rule will be in place until further notice.