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Staff in schools, daycare and care homes may be asked for vaccine status

Staff in schools, daycare and care homes may be asked for vaccine status

Staff in schools, daycare and care homes may be asked for vaccine status

The German government has revealed plans to allow schools, childcare facilities and care homes to require proof that their employees have been vaccinated against or recovered from coronavirus

Vaccine status can be requested in schools, kindergartens and care homes

Up until now, only German hospitals have been allowed to enquire about their employees’ vaccination status, but the draft law would extend this possibility to other sectors where workers potentially come into contact with vulnerable people, or work in close proximity to others, thus increasing the risk of infection. 

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn justified extending the ordinance on the grounds that employees in these sectors are entrusted with the care of people who need special protection. “How are you going to explain to a relative that their mother died of COVID because the caregiver was not vaccinated?” he said. 

Under the new law, which the government signed off on Thursday, employers would be entitled to “require the employee to provide proof of vaccination or the existence of natural immunity." In the “interest of protecting against infection," these employees could then be “put to different tasks."

Companies could also refrain from hiring unvaccinated people, the draft states - but Spahn was clear that it would not give employers the right to dismiss staff members who are not willing to be vaccinated. “The employee could not be deployed in certain areas or would have to be given special protection,” he said. 

German government against blanket rules for employers

A number of prominent employers in Germany have recently been pushing the government to change the law to allow them to ask about their employees’ vaccination status. Like other privacy concerns, the confidentiality of personal health data is something taken very seriously in Germany. 

Spahn said that there is currently no appetite in government to support a blanket allowance for employers to probe their workers’ vaccination status. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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