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After a trip to a risk region: Are holiday makers returning home entitled to their wages?

After a trip to a risk region : Are holiday makers returning home entitled to their wages?

After the holiday comes before the quarantine: Anyone who knowingly travels to a risk area and then goes into isolation must expect to lose their salary. We explain when there will be more money, what the employer is allowed to do and what employees have to consider.

Where to go during the autumn holidays? During the Corona crisis this question takes on a whole new meaning. Because what counts above all - but not just - is the possible risk of infection. If the holiday destination is a high-risk area, the employer will also be interested in the plans of his employees. After all, if you have to go into quarantine after the holidays and cannot switch to the home office, you may end up without a salary for that time.

Generally speaking, returnees from risk areas must present a negative test for coronavirus on entering Germany or go into domestic quarantine for a fortnight. The government plans to introduce new rules by mid-October at the latest. The details still have to be determined. So far it is planned that the quarantine can only be ended by a test from the fifth day after return.

Bonn man arranges trip with employer

For Michael Pieck from Bonn, his holiday in Turkey in September was preceded by a rather extensive familiarisation with the current regulations. He did not want to cancel the trip, which he had booked long before, for several reasons. "Since Turkey was classified as a risk area at the time, but no travel warning was issued for this region, I would have been stuck with high cancellation costs," he says. On the other hand, he says he felt safer in the hotel near Antalya "than in a crowded Bonn bus" due to the high hygiene standards.

Nevertheless, it was important for Pieck to communicate with his employer before the trip. In the end, he got by with a working day under voluntary quarantine in his home office. "We had ourselves tested in our hotel in Turkey shortly before departure and sent the negative result to the city of Bonn with a form for travel returnees," says Pieck. This meant that the quarantine obligation was lifted.

In case of doubt, not all employees have the opportunity to work from home. The major employers in the region, such as the Post Office, are therefore appealing before the autumn holidays to avoid the risk of infection. If an employee is quarantined, home office or flexible working hours should be used as much as possible, they said. According to a spokesperson, Deutsche Telekom also relies on employees discussing trips to risk areas with their superiors in advance. If quarantine is required, this time must also be spent on flexitime or holidays if home office is not possible.

Deliberate travel to risk areas: no entitlement to continued payment of wages

At the moment, what counts most is whether the holidaymaker was surprised by the classification of his destination as a risk area during the trip. If this is the case, according to the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg Chamber of Industry and Commerce, he will continue to receive money even if he is unable to work from home during the subsequent quarantine. According to the Infection Protection Act (IfSG), the employer could in this case have the wages paid refunded by the state. If, on the other hand, the employee knowingly travelled into a risk area, he is not entitled to continued payment of his wages, according to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, if he cannot work from home. Many lawyers argue that state compensation under the Infection Protection Act is then also excluded. As there are hardly any precedents so far, the legal situation is rather unclear.

For Bonn holidaymaker Pieck, the trip to Turkey has proved to be a relaxing holiday despite the many unusual circumstances. Before each visit to a restaurant, a fever measurement, corona test, forms and a discussion with the employer: "I'm afraid we simply have to adapt to the new circumstances," says the Bonn resident.

(Original text: Delphine Sachsenröder / Translation: Mareike Graepel)