Many people who were infected with Corona suffer from symptoms such as rapid exhaustion and reduced performance even months later. What late effects can occur for how long, what causes and treatments are there? What are the consequences for your job? Can you be fired because of long Covid? Find out here
According to the German Federal Research Ministry, 350,000 people are already suffering from the long-term effects of Corona or long Covid. Even if many have a mild course, they can become incapacitated for a long period of time. Their employer continues to pay the wages for the first six weeks, then statutory health insurance takes over. So the question is: Can you still be fired because of long Covid in Germany?
When can I get fired at all?
According to the Dismissal Protection Act, there are only three reasons for dismissal:
▶ ︎ A company merger or acquisition: Rationalization or merger forces the company to lay off employees.
Example: The baker purchases a bread maker and this only needs to be operated by one employee.
▶ ︎ Termination due to improper behavior: willful or negligent action, threat of illness or betrayal of secrets can lead to dismissal .
Example: An employee is late almost every day, despite several conversations and warnings.
▶ ︎ The personal dismissal: Loss of the professional license (e.g. broker license), imprisonment, long-term illness with a negative prognosis for the future and lack of a work permit can be reasons for a dismissal in this case, for example.
Example: The bus driver’s license is withdrawn.
Important to remember in Germany: In principle, employees who have been employed in a company for more than six months are covered by the Employment Protection Act. Exceptions only apply in small businesses with 10 or fewer employees.
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When is the termination because of long Covid lawful?
Terminations due to illness, so-called personal terminations, are only legally effective if the following conditions are met:
▶ ︎ There must be clear facts that the incapacity for work continues.
▶ ︎ The employee’s absenteeism has a considerable negative impact on the employer’s operational or economic interests.
▶ ︎ The interests of the employee must be compared with those of the employer. This includes the duration of the employment relationship, the cause of illness, the absences of comparable employees and the age of the employee.
What does the law in Germany consider?: When assessing each individual case, the question is whether it can be expected of employers to continue the employment relationship. In doing so, the employer must exhaust all milder means that are less burdensome for the employees.
The courts assume, for example, that the principle of proportionality has been disregarded if an employer has waived operational integration management, such as a gradual increase in working hours.
When is being fired because of long Covid ineffective?
There is no clear cut answer to that question. It can only be clarified on a case-by-case basis. The termination is ineffective in any case if an existing works council was not heard before the termination was issued.
If the employees concerned are members of the works council, are severely disabled or if the employee is pregnant, special termination requirements apply.
Anyone who has received a notice of termination has three weeks to take action. After this period of action has expired, the termination is effective .
Since dismissals due to illness only apply because of the very strict conditions outlined, those affected should in any case seek legal help to take action against this termination.
The Dismissal Protection Act makes it difficult for bosses to lay off employees. This applies in particular to being thrown out without notice. Nevertheless, there are judgments in which the right lies on the employer’s side, no matter how long and how much someone has worked for the company.