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(new: statements by the SPD)
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier has spoken out against a statutory right to work from home. The CDU politician told the German press agency: “Above all, we need less bureaucracy, not always new government guarantees. I am convinced that many companies offer more home offices on their own, but it does not work everywhere, especially if it does direct contact with customers and employees is necessary. “
Altmaier said that he had complete confidence in employees, employers and company councils that the right solutions would be found on site. “State gagging would be fundamentally wrong.”
Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) had announced that he wanted to enshrine the right to work from home by law and to submit a new law by autumn.
The SPD received criticism of Altmaier’s statements on Saturday. The deputy chairwoman of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast, told the German press agency: “Those who criticize right now are trying to stifle a debate that we have to have because we are all gaining experience of how home offices can and cannot work and which questions have to be settled. “
The question was what could be done better after the crisis than before, said Mast. “A right to home office, wherever possible, is one of them.” It certainly does not solve all challenges, because the compatibility of family and work needs more offers. After all, working at home means more flexibility, but also work. “That is why it is important to keep an eye on the rights of employees here as well. However, a right to a home office would be another important step to attract and retain employees.”
Heil had said about his plans: “Anyone who wants and who allows their workplaces should be able to work in the home office – even if the corona pandemic is over again.” One could either switch completely to home office or only for a day or two a week, he had said the “picture on Sunday”.
There have been skeptical voices from the Union and the economy. “Warming up political shopkeepers from before the greatest economic downturn for many decades seems a bit out of time,” said the managing director of the Federal Association of German Employers’ Associations, Steffen Kampeter. “We need a moratorium on burdens instead of further requirements that limit growth and flexibility.”
According to a survey, every third employee in the corona crisis switched to their home office. In the first half of April, 35 percent stated that they worked partially or completely from home, as the German Institute for Economic Research determined on the basis of the socio-economic panel. Before the Corona crisis, only 12 percent used the desk at home occasionally or always, the institute announced in mid-May. Especially employees with higher incomes and higher education were able to switch to their home office.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg assumes that the corona crisis has triggered a long-term shift towards work outside the office. He expected around one in two employees of the online network to work in this way in ten years, said Zuckerberg in an interview with the technology blog “The Verge” on Thursday. Previously, Twitter had already announced, among other things, that all employees could continue their jobs from home even after the end of the crisis, if their duties allow it./hoe/DP/stk