Compulsory testing in German companies

According to the current resolution (as of 13.4.21), companies are to be obliged by an amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to offer their employees, unless they are in a home office, the opportunity to take a Corona quick test per week.

Since there have been relatively few restrictions in the professional environment up to now, apart from complete closures of individual sectors such as gastronomy, culture and tourism, in contrast to numerous restrictions affecting private life, there is great potential here to detect previously undetected SARS-CoV2 infections through the use of "Corona rapid tests".

According to a publication of the Robert Koch Institute in the Epidemiological Bulletin, a corona infection in the workplace results in an average of 14.1 infections, which not only further advances the pandemic, but with an average duration of incapacity to work of 12.4 days, also leads to massive staff absences and costs, and ultimately endangers the ability of an entire company to work. Thus, testing offers in the current pandemic situation can even save money in the long run.

Obligation to offer is not an obligation to test

The decision of the Federal Cabinet explicitly speaks only of an offer obligation on the part of employers, i.e. employees are not legally obliged to make use of this test offer with rapid tests. Rather, employees may continue to decide for themselves whether or not to accept the test offer.

Since a rapid test represents an encroachment on the general right of personality, it is generally not possible to force employees to take a test via the Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance. However, there are exceptions, for example if employees show symptoms typical of Corona, have been on holiday in risk areas, work with risk groups or offer body-related services. In such cases, the employer can oblige the employee to have a Corona test carried out or to carry it out himself/herself by means of his/her statutory right to issue instructions.

Compulsory testing in Berlin and Saxony

In Berlin and Saxony, the state-specific infection protection ordinances also stipulate that employees who have contact with customers or guests must also accept the employer's obligatory offer of testing.

This makes it advisable to offer antigen tests that are as "pleasant" as possible for rapid tests carried out in the workplace.

Spit tests for pleasant sample collection

For the first antigen tests, samples had to be taken deep in the nasopharynx. With some of the newer antigen tests, it is sufficient to take the sample 1.5 cm deep in the nose, which is perceived as much more pleasant and thus increases the willingness to take a rapid test. Furthermore, so-called spit tests are already available, in which saliva is put into a small test container. These spit tests are therefore the most minimally invasive solution for a rapid test.

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