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HomeGerman HealthcareCan you boss persuade you to get vaccinated?

Can you boss persuade you to get vaccinated?

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Me? Never! Well, being vaccinated is not compulsory in Germany, yet. However, what happens if your employer tries to persuade you to get vaccinated?

In Germany so far, there is no statutory vaccination requirement due to the coronavirus. But vaccination would make sense for certain professional groups. It stands to reason that the employer might coerce employees or make it an obligation. So, can your employer persuade you to get vaccinated?

How would you react if your German employer tried to persuade you to get vaccinated?

According to a survey by the employment law firm Chevalier among around 3,000 people, 28 percent would understand sanctions in the workplace, 56 percent were against. The rest of them weren’t sure.

Can my boss force me to get vaccinated?

According to the current legal situation, there is no compulsory vaccination against the coronavirus. The German Infection Protection Act only provides for a compulsory vaccination against measles. For example, certain professional groups who work in the care of the elderly or in a medical profession must be vaccinated against measles.

In Germany, an employer is not allowed to force employees to have a corona vaccination. The employer is even legally not in a position to threaten any sanctions for refusal to vaccinate.


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Is there a vaccination requirement for certain occupational groups?

In the survey, 67 percent are in favor of compulsory vaccination for certain occupational groups. Over 80 percent of those in favor of such a duty are for elderly care and medical personnel, about 60 percent for educational personnel and body-hugging services.

Unlike measles for which there is a compulsory vaccination for certain professional groups in Germany, there are no compulsory obligations with Corona yet.

Doesn’t the employer also have a duty of care to the other employees?

An employer must ensure that employees are protected as well as possible when carrying out their work. To do this, for example, he must be able to work from home.

▶ ︎ If this is not possible, he must take all safety measures to avoid infection with Corona.

Can the employer expel me from the company premises if I have not been vaccinated?

In principle, employers in Germany are not allowed to simply expel unvaccinated employees from the company premises. Because every employee in the employment relationship basically has the right to be able to work.

What measures can the boss take?

First and foremost, of course, he can ask his employees to get vaccinated. He can also offer incentives such as bonuses, special leave or special training opportunities.

Usually the employer has to ensure that all employees are treated equally. But if the employer wants to treat certain groups of employees better, he needs a reason. In my opinion, this is what happens when employees should be vaccinated. This serves to improve the health of the workforce.

Can I lie to my boss about the vaccination status or is my German employer allowed to ask for proof?

In principle, the boss is not allowed to ask about your specific state of health, for example why you are on sick leave.

At this moment, nobody has to tell the truth when asked about an existing corona vaccination. But exceptions can of course apply to certain professional groups or to existing agreements.

Are vaccination incentives such as bonus payments from the employer permitted?

Employers could pay a “vaccination bonus”, for example through a one-off sum of money, vouchers or extra vacation days. This is not entirely unethical, because rewards can exert undue pressure not to exercise one’s rights.

For example, courts have only declared rewards for employees who rarely get sick to be admissible under strict conditions. The trade unions consider incentives for those willing to vaccinate to be permissible. However, they have a say in any case, as such a bonus is subject to co-determination. To be fair, there should not only be a bonus for those who don’t like vaccinations as an incentive to vaccinate, but if so, then for everyone.

Are professional disadvantages possible if you don’t get vaccinated?

If there is no compulsory vaccination, the employer cannot differentiate according to whether someone is vaccinated or not or whether they have not wanted to be vaccinated in the past, as long as there was no obligation to do so. 

In medical institutions, however, the employer can reject applicants if they are not vaccinated and do not want to be vaccinated.

Unvaccinated employees require other protective measures in the company and also lead to disagreements among the employees. For this reason, non-vaccinated employees will certainly not be preferred in the company in the near future.

Are employers allowed to distinguish between vaccinated and non-vaccinated people?

Labor law restrictions in Germany are more difficult to justify for vaccinated people, while labor law protective measures have to be stronger for non-vaccinated people.

Privileges are conceivable, such as the earlier return of vaccinated employees from the home office to the office or the use of communal facilities such as the canteen. However, the incentive or pressure from such preferences should not be disproportionate.

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