Almost half of the employees work wholly or partially in the home office
The corona pandemic has changed existing concepts and processes in everyday work extremely. As a study by the digital association Bitkom has found, almost half of the employees (45 percent) in Germany worked entirely or at least partially in the home office at the end of 2020. And many companies are likely to retain flexible working models such as mobile work or home office in the future. The terms “home office” and “mobile working”, which are often used synonymously, do not mean the same thing and therefore cannot be viewed as equivalent working models.
That means “home office”
As part of the Corona Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (Corona-ArbSchV), employers have been obliged since January 27, 2021 to offer their employees the option of working from home, provided that there are no internal reasons to the contrary.
The term home office, which is also known as teleworking in technical terms, is understood to mean working at a fixed workplace outside the company – typically on the employee’s own premises. In Paragraph 2, Paragraph 7 of the Workplace Ordinance, the term is precisely defined: “Teleworking is a fixed screen workstation set up by the employer in the private sector of the employee, for which the employer has agreed a weekly working time and the duration of the facility”, it says in the regulation.
In addition, certain conditions must be met with this form of work, as defined in the legal definition. A workplace in the home office is only officially “set up” when the employer and employee have recorded the general conditions for working from home in writing. According to the law, the employer must also provide the necessary infrastructure with suitable office equipment, work and communication equipment. Because according to current law, the home office must meet the same legal requirements as the workplace in the company.
That means “mobile working”
In contrast to telework, so-called mobile working (Mobile Office) differs in that it allows you to choose your workplace outside of the office. Because while employees in the home office are tied to their private space at home, other places for work are also conceivable for mobile work. As the Federal Ministry of Labor writes, it is only important that the employee can be reached. The location for the work can typically be chosen by the employee himself and this can be performed at different locations such as a hotel, train or café. In contrast to working from home, work does not necessarily have to take place at home. Furthermore, a fixed location agreed with the employer can serve as the employee’s workplace during mobile work, for example the home office.
Legal differences: home office vs. mobile working
Both forms of work are subject to legal regulations, which, however, differ in their execution in some points:
The same occupational safety standards apply to the home office as to the classic office workstation, explains the Haufe Group. The so-called Arbeitsstättenverordnung (ArbStättV) also applies to teleworking if the employer was responsible for setting up the workplace. According to the Haufe report, the employer always remains responsible for safety in the workplace. The employer is responsible in the home office for both the implementation of occupational safety standards and the assumption of the costs incurred.
It looks different in the Mobile Office. In contrast to teleworking, employers with mobile work find it difficult to understand whether all the workplaces chosen by the employee meet the safety standards. Much more flexible requirements apply to mobile work with regard to safety regulations – the Workplace Ordinance (ArbStättV) does not apply here, according to the Haufe editorial team. Nevertheless, the employer must also ensure that work safety is adequately guaranteed when working on the move. This means that psychological and physical dangers for employees must also be ruled out in the mobile workplace. Occupational health and safety regulations such as risk assessment, employee training and the industrial safety ordinance must therefore also be observed with the mobile office, the report says.
Same requirements with regard to occupational safety and working hours law
In principle, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Working Hours Act are binding for both types of work, emphasizes the Federal Ministry of Labor. “It is all the more important to recognize that the rules of occupational health and safety apply to mobile work and in the home office as well as in the office,” said a letter from the ministry. As lawyer Ulrike Schmidt-Fleischer from “Anwalt.de” writes, the employer is also the safety officer for his employees with the flexible working models: “The entrepreneur is fully responsible for the safety and health of his employees, regardless of whether they work in the company , work from home or elsewhere, “writes the lawyer in an article. The statutory provisions of the Working Hours Act, which are intended to ensure sufficient breaks and compliance with maximum working hours and minimum rest periods, are also unrestrictedly valid.
Pauline Breitner / Forex-news.com.net editors
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