Quick tests and home office: Part of the Union wants to make companies responsible

Rapid tests and home office
Part of the Union wants to make companies responsible

Regular rapid tests can provide a little more safety in the workplace during the pandemic. But despite promises from the business world, they have not yet been offered everywhere. The Union’s workers’ wing is pushing for more commitment.

Shortly before new talks between the federal government and around 40 business associations, the union’s workers’ wing is calling for companies to make corona tests available to their employees. “Testing in companies should become a legal obligation,” said the chairman of the CDU and CSU workers’ group in the Bundestag, Uwe Schummer, to the newspapers of the Funke media group.

Schummer emphasized that although most companies take care of the health of their employees – “there are always exceptions that do not adhere to the test recommendations”. This could quickly lead to new risks of infection. “That is why we have to tighten the reins for this minority of companies that do not follow the recommendations,” demanded the CDU politician. The test obligation must apply above all “where there is presence of the employees in the company”.

Schummer also demanded that in order to protect employees from corona infections, companies “must offer home office wherever possible, at least for a few days a week”. Working in the home office has so far not been used to the extent that it is possible.

Schummer’s party friend, Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier, wants to speak to business representatives again via video on Thursday, seven weeks after his first consultation with more than 40 associations on the corona crisis. According to a ministry spokeswoman, the topics also include a possible requirement for companies to offer their employees corona tests.

Medium-sized companies fear high costs

There is currently only one voluntary commitment by employers to do this. According to a study by the Hans Böckler Foundation, however, the majority of employees did not have sufficient test offers available by the end of March. However, the survey is not representative. The federal government is currently examining the situation; Results should be available by the next federal-state round on April 12th.

Small and medium-sized businesses reject compulsory corona testing for companies. Before Chancellor Angela Merkel “makes new regulations for entrepreneurs in the manner of a landlady, she should be clear about the consequences,” said the head of the Federal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (BVMW), Markus Jerger, to the Funke newspapers. It is unclear, for example, where an estimated 60 million rapid tests per week will come from. Whoever takes control of the test results is also open.

The most important question, however, is who should bear the costs of “an estimated one billion euros a month” for the corona tests in the company, said Jerger: “We are looking forward to the answers from the Chancellery.” The SME representative accused Merkel of “distracting from their own blatant failure in test and vaccination logistics” with the debate about compulsory testing for companies.