R as in Remote work
What do I have to consider if I want to work from home or in a mobile office?
There is still no legal entitlement to work from home (“Home-Office”) or another location outside the company (remote work, sometimes also referred to as “teleworking” or “alternating teleworking”) – neither for the employer nor for the employee.
Am I entitled to work from home?
Whether employees are allowed or required to work from home therefore depends on the employment contract and the applicable company agreements and collective bargaining agreements. If there are no provisions on remote work, the employer can decide by exercising his right of direction whether he instructs or permits the employee to work from home. Employment contracts often contain provisions on transfer, so that the employer usually has the option of ordering remote work or working from home.
However, employers are not obliged to agree to their employees’ request for remote employment. Only in rather rare exceptional cases can the overall circumstances show that the interests of the employee outweigh the interests of the employer to such an extent that the employee has a fixed entitlement to remote work or work from home. This has been the case during the pandemic, for example, but can also result from health restrictions of the employee. However, it always depends on the circumstances in each individual case.
What needs to be regulated in an agreement on remote work?
If you are planning to work remotely more frequently, it is advisable to make a supplementary agreement to the employment contract to regulate how the remote work is to be organized. This can clarify issues such as the time frame, duties of attendance duties and times of availability, the employer’s obligation to bear the costs, and issues of occupational health and safety as well as data protection.
In companies with a works council, the council can agree to such framework conditions for remote work and work from home in a works agreement with the employer.
Please note: This is a very general overview on the subject of remote work under german labor law. If you need help in your particular case, please do not hestitate to contact me or book your appointment. I’m happy to help.