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Corona pandemic: Government apparently agrees on compulsory testing for companies


Despite massive protests from lobby groups, the government wants to oblige companies in Germany to offer employees a test. According to SPIEGEL information, the Ministry of Economic Affairs is giving up its blockade.

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The resistance from the economy is great, but apparently the federal government does not want to be slowed down by it: After Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) announced at the weekend that companies will be introducing a corona test obligation, the Federal Ministry of Economics is now also turning, according to SPIEGEL information Peter Altmaier (CDU).

The Ministry of Economics says that they will "turn around".

On this Monday, the departmental vote will take place, where the final details will be clarified.

According to SPIEGEL information, the Ministry of Economic Affairs could also submit the placements by the afternoon so that the law can go to the federal cabinet on Tuesday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) announced weeks ago that companies would be obliged to provide tests if the previously applicable voluntary solution did not result in 90 percent of employees being tested regularly.

Merkel's requirements not met

Last Thursday, the Ministry of Labor and Economic Affairs published a survey among around 1000 companies, according to which 69 percent of the companies want to offer a regular offer with at least one test per week by mid-April.

61 percent of employees said their employer was ready.

Merkel's requirements were thus not met.

Heil's plans now apparently provide that all employees who are not in the home office are offered a corona test per week by the employer.

Anyone who has a lot of customer contact or who works with food should be entitled to two tests.

The federal government does not want to stipulate an explicit test obligation for all employees, because it would involve bodily harm that would be necessary in the event of a forced smear test.

The obligation to test is to be introduced via a tightening of the occupational safety and health ordinance, in which the home office regulation and the hygiene protection standards for the workplaces in the companies are already specified.

The concerns of the associations

Another reason why Altmaier's house hesitated for so long was that the business associations lobbied massively against a legal regulation.

The arguments used by the business representatives are varied: For example, it is difficult for companies to supervise the tests and issue mandatory certificates.

Association representatives of smaller companies also worried about the availability of tests.

Last Friday, the associations were able to present their concerns again at a virtual conference together with Chancellor Helge Braun (CDU).

The group actually agreed that the economy should work out a concept by Monday afternoon on how the proportion of voluntarily tested employees could still be increased to 90 percent in order to avoid compulsory testing.

But it is questionable whether the associations will present their concept at all.

The federal government receives support from the economist Veronika Grimm, who is also a member of the Federal Government's Advisory Council (»Economy«).

"Even if you are against coercion, you have to see: The obligation to test can contribute to falling numbers and thus open up the possibility of loosening up in the foreseeable future and then keeping the infection process under control when the numbers are low," Grimm told the editorial network Germany ( RND).

Of course, a possible test obligation is associated with additional costs.

"But not reliably reducing the number of infections and keeping them low is far more expensive."

gt / mad / stk / dpa

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-04-12

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