Employees in Germany can only appear at their workplace according to the 3G principle (vaccinated, tested, treated). This is stipulated by the new infection protection law that came into force in Germany on 24.11.2021. Anyone who wants to enter the company’s premises must prove that they have been vaccinated, tested or recovered.
What this means for employees and their bosses in everyday life, explains Nicole Mutschke, a lawyer specializing in labor law.
3G at the workplace in Germany: What kind of certificates are required?
As the name suggests, there are three options. Employees need one of the certificates:
- a vaccination certificate, which certifies full vaccination against coronavirus
- proof of recovery from a coronavirus infection (whereby the test must have taken place at least 28 days and no more than six months ago)
- a negative coronavirus test result
“For rapid tests, the test must have been done no more than 24 hours ago, and for PCR tests, no more than 48 hours ago,” – explains lawyer Nicole Mutschke.
Who controls compliance?
Employers in Germany are obliged to check the 3G certificates every day before the employee enters the workplace and to document this.
Mutschke: “This responsibility can also be delegated to relevant employees or third parties.”
Do I have to show my vaccination certificate every day?
In the case of vaccination and convalescence certificates, it is sufficient for the employer to check them once and document this check. Daily checks are therefore not necessary for these two certificates.
“However, in the case of unvaccinated or incompletely unvaccinated persons, the test result must be checked daily,” – says an employment law expert.
Note: Employees and employers must also keep the relevant certificate in case of inspection by the authorities.
What if my boss doesn’t do it?
Mutschke: “An employer commits an administrative offence if he fails to comply with the 3G regulations.”
Note: A violation of an employer’s inspection obligations in Germany is punishable by a fine of up to 25,000 euros.
Do I have to fear the consequences myself?
The same applies to the employee, who also faces a fine of up to €25,000.
Note: Employees who fail to provide 3G proof also face a warning under employment law.
Mutschke warns: “In the worst case scenario, in the event of persistent refusal, the employer may consider dismissal.
Will I get paid if I don’t have a test and the employer sends me home?
Employees who fail to provide the certificate required under the 3G rule are not allowed into the workplace in Germany. This means:
“If an employee cannot work, for example because it is not possible to work remotely, he will also not be entitled to payment of wages,” explains lawyer Mutschke.
Who has to pay for workplace testing in Germany?
“Employers in Germany must continue to offer employees at least two free tests per week,” emphasizes lawyer Mutschke.
In addition, everyone is now entitled to one free citizenship test per week. Otherwise, employees must pay for their tests themselves.
Is testing included in working time?
No, testing is not part of working time, says the lawyer.
Mutschke: “If employers nevertheless compensate time spent on testing, it is voluntary.”
What about data protection?
The 3G certificate concerns sensitive employee health data.
Mutschke: “Employers can therefore only check and document the name and the 3G certificate, including its validity period during inspections.”
Note: It must also be ensured that third parties, such as other colleagues, cannot gain knowledge of the health data.