One parent has to stay at home because school or kindergarten is closed due to Corona? Employees are sent into quarantine by their doctors for safety reasons? But who covers wages that employers are still required to pay? Ecovis lawyer Olga Panin-Erler from Düsseldorf knows how employers should proceed.
Currently, our clients are questioning who will be responsible for the payment of wages if employees have to take care of their children due to closed schools or if they are sent into quarantine by their doctor for safety reasons. “Entrepreneurs are concerned who will compensate the wages”, reports Ecovis lawyer Olga Panin-Erler.
The situation is clear if someone receives a certificate of incapacity for work, often referred to as ‘yellow note’. In this cases statutory sick pay(Lohnfortzahlung) will then apply. Health insurance companies compensate the employer’s expenses if he participates in the U1 apportionment procedure (Umlageverfahren). This apportionment procedure is mandatory for employers with up to 30 employees.
“However, doctors do not issue certificates of incapacity for work if it is only a precautionary measure,” says Panin-Erler. If schools or kindergartens remain closed, no such certificate will be issued either. In both cases, employers have to keep working without the manpower of their employees and, if necessary, continue to pay wages.
How employers receive their money
Compensation under the Law of Protection against Infection (Infektionsschutzgesetz) is only available if employees are officially in quarantine. The employer then continues to pay the employee’s salary for the first six weeks. In such cases, however, the employer cannot approach the health insurance company, but must apply for compensation at the responsible authority for compensation. The responsible authority is either the public health department (Gesundheitsamt) or the district government, depending on the respective federal state. “Self-employed persons can apply for compensation in the event of loss of earnings as well,” explains Panin-Erler.
No refund will be granted in the following cases
There is no compensation under the Law of Protection against Infection for employers if there is a certificate of incapacity for work, if employees work from home, other statutory sick payments (Lohnfortzahlung) are granted or if children cannot go to school or kindergarten. “If you want to avoid the bureaucratic process with the authorities, you could allow your employees to work from home or reduce overtime, always depending on the type of work,” says Panin-Erler. If parents have to take care of their children, employers are not necessarily obliged to continue the payment of wages. “In this case, however, it depends on the employment contract or possible collective agreements to which a company is bound.”