19 January 2021

Employment Law Issues Concerning the Corona Vaccine

The introduction of compulsory vaccination for certain occupational groups, such as nursing staff, is currently the subject of controversial debate in Germany. The coronavirus vaccine also raises numerous questions from an employment law perspective

No compulsory vaccination – that includes employees

As long as there is no legal vaccination requirement, employers cannot require their employees to be vaccinated against coronavirus. This is true even in professions where employees come into direct contact with at-risk individuals, such as in specialist respiratory clinics or retirement homes. As long as there is no legal obligation to be vaccinated against coronavirus, the administration of a vaccine is only permitted with the consent of the person concerned.

Incentives are possible

While employers cannot require their employees to be vaccinated against corona, they can create a specific incentive for employees to get vaccinated by paying a vaccination premium or granting an additional day's leave. Such incentives will in many cases increase workers' willingness to be vaccinated and thus contribute to a higher vaccination rate in the workplace.

No right to information on vaccination status

Without a legal vaccination requirement, employers also have no right to information from their employees regarding their vaccination status. Employees are therefore not under any obligation to answer questions from their boss in connection with a corona vaccine. This means they do not have to inform their employer whether they have already been vaccinated or whether vaccination is imminent, nor whether they plan to be vaccinated at all.

Employees are of course free to inform their employer on a voluntary basis about their vaccination status. However, it can only be assumed that this information is provided voluntarily if employees who do not wish to provide information on their vaccination status need not fear any disadvantages.

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