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WORKING IN GERMANY

Germany could ‘end quarantine pay for people without booster jabs’

The German government is reportedly mulling over plans to scrap quarantine pay for people who haven't received their full course of Covid jabs or whose last jab was more than three months ago.

Woman in Covid self-isolation
A woman sits in bed during self-isolation. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

According to reports in the German media, certain groups of vaccinated people could soon lose their wages if they have to go into quarantine after having contact with an infected person. 

The potential shift in rules was laid out by parliamentary lawyers in a brief obtained by German daily Bild.

“The absence of the Covid-19 booster vaccination would lead to the exclusion of the claim for compensation,” the brief allegedly states.

Though nothing concrete is in the pipeline yet, the change would primarily affect people who had received their Covid jabs in or before October last year but haven’t yet received a booster jab. 

According to Bild, it would also affect people who weren’t fully vaccinated yet, such as people who have only had one jab. 

This would be justified by the fact that the need to quarantine could have been avoided by a “publicly recommended” third vaccination, the lawyers write. 

Currently, only unvaccinated workers in quarantine cases face the prospect of lost wages if they have to quarantine due to a suspected Covid infection. This is one of the ways in which the government had hoped to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid. 

READ ALSO: Germany ends quarantine pay for the unvaccinated

Quarantine exemptions 

To avoid massive staff shortages during the Omicron wave, federal and state leaders have recently agreed on a set of changes to Germany’s quarantine rules.

Under the new laws, people who’ve had a booster shot and people who had their second jab less than three months ago are exempt from having to quarantine after contacted with an infected person.

However, everyone with a confirmed Covid infection has to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status. This group would still receive sick pay if they have to self-isolate. 

If the proposals laid out in the brief are taken up by the government, they would mean that anyone who isn’t exempt from quarantine faces a loss of wages for up to ten days.

This is the amount of time people with a suspected Covid infection must generally quarantine, though this can be shortened to seven days with a negative test. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Germany’s new rules and exceptions for Covid quarantine

Opposition politicians said that the plans to change the rules could only be justified if people were able to get a rapid appointment for a booster.

CDU MEP Dennis Radtke, who specialises in workers’ issues, told Bild: “If you want to do something like this, you have to make sure that everyone can get a quick booster shot. It can’t be the case that workers end up paying for the bad Covid management of the federal government.”

Others, meanwhile, appealed to workers to get their full course of vaccinations. 

“In order not to place unnecessary burdens on society, employees should strive for the highest possible level of his or her own protection,” CDU/CSU parliamentary secretary Thorsten Frei told Bild. “Those who expressly forego this protection should also be prepared to bear the consequences.”

As of Thursday, 75.3 percent of the population had received at least one Covid jab, while 73.1 percent were fully vaccinated and 48.9 percent had received a booster. 

Member comments

  1. This looks like another wonderful decree from out benevolent government. Completely followed by carefully checked scientific data. And in no way a dumb idea.

  2. And yet again – what happens to those who aren’t allowed to get a booster by our Bundesoverlords because of the stupid 3 month post-infection rule (which is of course not scientifically backed)? How Lauterbach managed to be even worse than Spahn blows my mind.

    1. Can you see it yet?
      You’ll only ever meet the requirements of our dear leaders for a few weeks per year. The rest of the time, you’ll be fighting to try and catch up.
      The goal posts are running at this point.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

With the EU changing its Covid recommendations for flights, there is some confusion around whether people boarding a plane in Germany will still need to wear a mask. Here's what we know so far.

Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

As of Monday, the aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC no longer recommend mandatory Covid masks in airports and on planes.

However, if masks are compulsory at the point of departure or destination, this should continue to apply in aircraft as well, they say.

So, what does this mean for passengers boarding flights in Germany? At the moment, not very much at all. 

In Germany, the Infection Protection Act still stipulates that masks have to be worn on long-distance trains and planes. Masks are also compulsory on local public transport.

The previous weeks have seen Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) come out in favour of scrapping compulsory masks – especially on flights.

But so far, nothing concrete has been done to change the Infection Protection Act, which is due to expire on September 23rd. 

READ ALSO: German politicians row over lifting mandatory Covid mask rule

What are the current rules on flights? 

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, masks are compulsory on all flights taking off or landing in Germany.

FFP2 or medical masks must be worn when boarding and disembarking and throughout the flight, though they can be removed when eating and drinking.

Children under the age of six are exempt from the mask-wearing requirement. 

The ministry has argued that the obligation to wear masks also complies with the new EU recommendations. 

What are the rules acros the EU? 

In general, the relaxed EU recommendation does not mean that masks are no longer compulsory on all flights. However, many countries have kept this measure in place as a simple way to reduce infection. 

Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Ryanair, published a list of 14 EU countries in which national laws continue to require the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of Covid.

Besides Germany, popular tourist destinations such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and France are included on the list. 

In other EU countries, the airline said it would be dropping mandatory masks on flights, adding that it “welcomed” the relaxed recommendations from the EU health authorities.  

READ ALSO: Will Germany soon get rid of mandatory face masks on public transport?

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