All employees in the home office, heating off, lights off – save energy!?
With a view to the impending Bibber winter Economics Minister Robert Habeck (52, Greens) brought up increased work in the home office. “The energy balance is positive if the offices are not heated and rooms are used that are heated anyway,” said Habeck on Thursday (July 21). Meaning: the home office or living room.
Home office to save energy?
With a view to their own utility bills, this move should already send a shiver down the spine of many employees.
“Home office has been tested in a large-scale experiment across the country in the last two years, has proven itself and is indispensable,” says Bernd Rützel (53, SPD), Chairman of the Committee on Labor and Social Affairs in the Bundestag, in favor of working in principle at home. “That’s why I don’t believe in the fact that a different reason for or against working from home is pulled out of a hat every day. Working from home offers great opportunities for everyone involved, but it also needs clear rules.”
Rützel demands: “Companies should pass on the saved heating costs to their employees, because they also have to heat.”
And the chairman of the workers’ group of the Union faction, Axel Knoerig (55, CDU), says clearly: “Workers must not be burdened unilaterally by the consequences of the energy crisis. Basic regulations for working from home must remain in the hands of the social partners.”
Can my employer send me to work from home?
“No,” says Livia Merla, a specialist lawyer for labor law. “The employer cannot simply demand that I use my private rooms to work.” Rather, the employer is fundamentally obliged to provide his employees with a workplace. The expert explains that privacy in your own home is even protected by the Basic Law.
MEANS: Just because the employer wants to save energy, he cannot unilaterally send employees to the home office.
“Working in the home office is only possible by mutual agreement. This means that a corresponding agreement and the consent of both the employer and the employee are required,” says Merla. She has been advising clients in the field of employment law for seven years and is a partner in the law firm Merla Ganschow & Partners.
Electricity, heating – those who work at home inevitably have higher additional costs.
“The employee has the right to have the employer bear the purely operational additional costs if a permanent teleworkplace in the employee’s home has been agreed,” explains the labor law expert.
With mobile work, which can be done from anywhere, the problem usually does not arise.
► BUT this problem: “In practice, it is difficult to separate which costs are really purely operational. That’s why most employers pay a home office flat rate, which should be discussed and agreed in advance.”
Tip from the expert: “Especially with a view to autumn and winter, appropriate packages should be agreed in good time.”