German economics minister peter altmaier has spoken out against a legally enshrined right to work from home.
The CDU politician told the german press agency: "above all, we need less bureaucracy, not more and more new state guarantees. I am convinced that many companies allow more home offices, but it does not fit everywhere, especially when direct contact with customers and employees is necessary."
Altmaier said he had full confidence in employees, employers and works councils that the right solutions would be found on the ground. "State handouts were fundamentally wrong."
Federal labor minister hubertus heil (SPD) had announced his intention to enshrine the right to work from home in law and to present a new law on the subject by the fall.
From the SPD came on saturday criticism of the statements altmaiers. The deputy chairwoman of the SPD parliamentary group, katja mast, told the deutsche presse-agentur: "those who criticize now are trying to dismiss a debate that we have to have. Because we are all gaining experience of how home office can and cannot work and what issues need to be addressed."
The question is what can be done better after the crisis than before, said mast. "A right to a home office, wherever possible, is part of this." It certainly does not solve all the challenges, because the compatibility of family and work need more offers. After all, working at home means more flexibility, but it also means work. "That’s why it’s important to keep the rights of the employees in mind here as well. Nevertheless, a right to home office would be another important step in attracting and retaining employees."
Heil had said of his plans: "everyone who wants to and whose job permits it should be able to work from home – even when the corona pandemic is over again."He told the newspaper "bild am sonntag" that he would either be allowed to switch completely to home office work or only for one or two days a week.
From the union and the economy there have been skeptical voices about it. "To rehash political loadhutters from the time before the roughest economic downturn in many decades seems a bit out of time," steffen kampeter, chief executive of the federation of german employers’ associations, had said. "We need a moratorium on burdens instead of further requirements that restrict growth and flexibility."
According to a survey, one in three employees switched to a home office during the corona crisis. 35 percent said in the first half of april that they work partly or completely from home, according to a survey by the german institute of economic research based on the socio-economic panel. Before the corona crisis, only 12 percent occasionally or always used their desks at home, the institute reported in mid-may. Employees with higher incomes and a higher level of education in particular were able to switch to the home office.
Facebook chief mark zuckerberg believes the corona crisis has spurred a long-term shift toward working outside the office. He expects that in ten years about one in two employees of the online network will work like this, zuckerberg said in an interview with the technology blog "the verge" on thursday. Earlier, twitter, among others, had already announced that all employees could continue their jobs from home even after the end of the crisis, if their duties allowed them to do so.