Last update: 4 May 2022
If there are no operational arguments for working in the office, supervisors can continue to make agreements with their staff to work from home. Supervisors decide in agreement with their staff if there are compelling reasons for working in the office.
The arrangements for working from home as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus must be agreed directly between you and your supervisor (in writing—via email or using the form in the Staff Service Portal (PDF, accessible, in German)). Any questions that arise must also be clarified between these parties. Flexitime regulations apply when working from home as do staff members’ core working hours. The rules on recording working hours also apply when working from home. A form is available on the HR page in the Staff Service Portal for this purpose. Professors are exempt from this regulation.
Supervisors are instructed to arrange flexible remote-working hours with employees forced to stay at home due to a lack of childcare options in the wake of school and childcare center restrictions. This may include hours outside standard flexitime. If an employee cannot work from home while looking after their children, they may use vacation days or flexitime credits. In this case, their account may go into a negative balance as permitted in the flexitime regulations.
Liability for damage to company property
Pay scale employees and civil servants are liable for any damage or destruction of company property (e.g., work equipment, such as laptops) if caused by intent or gross negligence on their part (cf. Section 3 subsection 7 of the collective wage agreement for the public sectors of the German states [Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst der Länder, TV-L], Section 48 of the act on the status of civil servants [Gesetz zur Regelung des Statusrechts der Beamtinnen und Beamten in den Ländern, BeamtStG]). The same applies in cases where equipment provided by the employer may be used at home or away from the office, provided that the damage or destruction took place during a work-related activity.
The decision as to whether employees can deduct the costs of working from home lies with the respective tax office. To compensate for the additional burden of working at home due to the corona pandemic, employees should be able to deduct up to €5 per day for 2020 and 2021. This should apply for a maximum of 120 days for a total of up to €600.
This lump sum will be offset against the valid employee exemption amount, meaning it will go into effect only when the exemption amount is exceeded. Explicit proof from the employer is not currently considered necessary. If tax offices request such proof from employees, please contact the HR staff member responsible.