Germany signs off new rules to put pressure on unvaccinated
Health authorities in Germany have waived in a pair of new reforms that will soon make life more awkward for unvaccinated people. Both quarantine compensation payments and free coronavirus tests are due to be scrapped in the coming months.
Germany scraps quarantine pay for unvaccinated workers
As of November 1, unvaccinated workers in Germany will not be eligible for compensation for lost wages if coronavirus measures force them to self-isolate and they are therefore unable to work. This will apply across all federal states, both if someone tests positive for coronavirus and if they return from a high-risk country abroad.
However, all employees - both vaccinated and unvaccinated - will retain the right to compensation (i.e. sick leave) if they are unable to work due to illness.
Exceptions will be made for people who cannot get vaccinated due to medical reasons. Compensation will also continue to be paid out for individuals for whom no general vaccination recommendation has yet been made.
Unvaccinated people “must take responsibility”, ministers say
After some debate, the measure received the support of the majority of the federal and state health ministers. State Health Minister for Bavaria Klaus Holetschek said that it would be unfair to continue to expect taxpayers to fund the payments: “With this, we are sending a signal that unvaccinated people must also take responsibility in the fight against the corona pandemic.”
Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn also defended the move: “It’s not about pressure… but about fairness towards the vaccinated. Why should others pay for someone who decides not to be vaccinated?”
No more free rapid tests for unvaccinated
A further new measure that will likely make life more expensive for unvaccinated people is the scrapping of free rapid coronavirus tests. Ministers have signed off a plan to make people with no symptoms pay for their own tests - unless, again, they cannot be vaccinated for a medical reason or are not covered by a general vaccine recommendation, such as children under the age of 12.
For individuals newly covered by a vaccination recommendation - including women in all stages of pregnancy and young people aged between 12 and 17 - a transitional period will apply, meaning these groups will be eligible for one free test per week until December 31, 2021, to give them more time to get their jab.
After October 11, you will need to present an official ID - like an identity card or a passport - to get a free rapid test. If you cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons, you will need to present extra evidence, such as a note from your doctor.
With the 3G rule still in place nationwide in Germany - stipulating that entrance to many public places is only possible for vaccinated, recovered, or tested people - unvaccinated individuals can therefore expect to have to pay to access venues like restaurants, theatres and bars.