Corona: crisis of equality (neue-deutschland.de)

Studying still gives women fewer opportunities than men.

Photo: dpa / dpaweb | Oliver Berg

“So that women don’t pay the price of the crisis, we need an equality check for the Corona policy,” demands Susanne Feldkötter. She is chairwoman of the district women’s committee in the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) Berlin-Brandenburg. It is mostly women who stayed at home and looked after children when the daycare center and school were closed, explains Vice District Chairman Sonja Staack. A survey by the union-affiliated Hans Böckler Foundation shows that in autumn 2020 women worked an average of six hours less work per week than men – before the pandemic the difference was five hours. “This widens the gap between the working hours of women and men in the crisis,” says Staack.

The inequality between the sexes has also been documented for eleven years by the gender data report based on data from the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office from the House of Gender Equality Senator Dilek Kalyci (SPD). The so-called gender pay gap is serious: in the 35 to 55 age group, 68.5 percent of men, but only 58 percent of women, earn more than 1,500 euros net. This is also evident from the recently presented edition with the figures for 2019. On average, women earn around a fifth less than men in professions subject to social insurance. One reason for this is the higher part-time work among women.

»We want the working hours and the care times of men and women to be the same. In the crisis, this development goes in the wrong direction, «says DGB woman Staack. In the companies, it must be ensured that women in particular can increase their working hours again after the crisis, and dismissals due to downtime during the crisis are excluded.

In general, the proportion of employed women is high in Berlin at almost 72 percent, emphasizes Lena Högemann, spokeswoman for the equal opportunities administration. That is a good thing: “Increasing labor force participation also leads to rising incomes for women.” However, things are progressing very slowly here.

The report also shows that the educational lead of younger generations of women is not reflected in the career and salary ladder. Across the generations, more women than men have a higher education entrance qualification (57 to 53 percent), among 25 to 34-year-olds it is even 74 percent (men: 69 percent). But there are almost 1000 female professors at Berlin’s state universities, as opposed to over 2000 professors. The differences are also great elsewhere: women make up more than half of the 23,667 medical professionals – but only 34 percent of senior physicians. In management positions, the proportion of women is less than a fifth.

The gender data report also covers other dimensions of inequality. According to this, around 66 percent of Berliners with a migration background have a job, but almost 80 percent of those without.

Women have one advantage in terms of average life expectancy – it is almost five years higher than that of men. One of the reasons for this is that women take fewer health risks. You smoke less, are less overweight and have more preventive medical checkups. This is particularly noticeable in cancer screening: more than half of women do health checks, but only a quarter of men.

Gender-based violence is the main threat to women’s health. Of the 15,665 victims of intimate partner or family violence in 2018, 72 percent were women. They even make up 80 percent of those seeking help because of stalking.

The report is also dedicated to political participation. The fact that the quota of women in the House of Representatives is far too low is primarily due to the “male-dominated parties”. Of the 25 AfD mandates at the beginning of the legislature, only three were women, while the FDP had two out of twelve. In contrast, the Greens had 59 percent women, the left-wing faction 48 percent. It fits into the picture that the AfD was elected much more often by men than by women (18 to 11 percent).

Senator Kalayci writes in the foreword that progress in equality is not progressing in a straight line Members. ”There was still a lot to do before gender parity.

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Hubertus Heil on the home office debate: “A very clear message”

Hubertus Heil

The Federal Minister of Labor says: “I am serious about proposals.”

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has urgently appealed to employers to allow home offices wherever possible. “This is not just any appeal, but a very clear message from the federal and state governments to the economy,” said the SPD politician in an interview with the Handelsblatt.

Many companies acted responsibly. But there are also those who arbitrarily refused to work on the move. “That is irresponsible,” said Heil.

The request to work from home if possible is also directed at the employees – even if he understands that many would like to see their colleagues again. But it is a question of responsibility, and the employees are also deceived.

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New insights into mobile working (neue-deutschland.de)

For some it’s a curse, for others a blessing: According to the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB), more than a third of employees in Germany now work on the move, many of them in the home office. The corona crisis has accelerated change. There are also questions and answers.

What kind of studies are these?

The DGB has been questioning employees about the quality of their working conditions once a year since 2007 and compiles the so-called DGB index »good work«. The survey of more than 6000 employees from all industries, professions, income and age groups, regions and company sizes took place from January to May 2020. Employees who had to switch to home office due to corona were not included in this survey. “Bitkom Research” also carried out a study on behalf of the Bitkom digital association. 1503 employed persons aged 16 and over were interviewed by telephone between October and November 2020. It was explicitly about working from home as a form of mobile work.

What is mobile working and who works mobile?

According to the DGB, the most common form of mobile work does not take place in the home office, but “on site”, for example with customers or patients. Three quarters of the mobile employees are »multimobile«, which means they work in more than one location-flexible form. According to the DGB, more than a third of employees in Germany work in different locations. Due to the corona-related home office, mobile working has become more widespread and better known. According to the DGB, men work mobile almost twice as often as women. There is also an unequal distribution along qualifications and income. In general, the following applies: the higher the professional status, the more mobile work is done.

Does working from home increase productivity and job satisfaction?

According to the Bitcom study, around one in four assesses their productivity in the home office to be significantly higher, and one in three a little higher. Another third think that productivity is constant compared to office work. Job satisfaction in the home office is significantly higher for every fifth person and slightly higher for every fourth person. Around 20 percent are less satisfied.

What do employees see as advantages of home office and mobile work?

According to the DGB, mobile employees report greater freedom in their work. You can plan your work more independently and organize it more freely. According to Bitkom, eight out of ten employees feel less stress because there is no commute. Six out of ten notice a generally better work-life balance. Other advantages mentioned are the possibility of a more health-conscious lifestyle and less interference from colleagues.

What do employees see as disadvantages of home office and mobile work?

According to the DGB, mobile employees report that when working on the move they are expected to be more often available outside of normal working hours. According to Bitkom, more than half complain about the reduced contact with colleagues. For one in five, having less contact with superiors is also a problem. Anyone who does not work in the home office, although they are allowed to do so, cites a poor technical infrastructure as the main reason.

When does mobile working become a danger?

According to the DGB, mobile working is often associated with very long working hours and unpaid work in leisure time. According to the DGB survey, more than ten percent of all employees often do not get the rest period of at least eleven hours between the end of work and the start of work, as stipulated in the Working Hours Act – in mobile forms of work, the restriction of this recovery phase is even more widespread. A third of the employees are also caught up in their free time by work. After all, a quarter reported frequent difficulties in reconciling work and private life.

What influence does the corona pandemic have on mobile work?

According to Bitkom calculations, even after the end of the corona pandemic, many more people will work from home than before. More than one in three will choose the place of work flexibly. Before the pandemic, working from home was the exception. Only 3 percent of the working population (1.4 million) worked exclusively in the home office, another 15 percent (6.3 million) partially. dpa / nd

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What bosses and employees need to know

Office workers with mouth and nose protection

Employees and managers are only allowed into the office for a valid reason, as the federal and state governments decided on Tuesday.

(Photo: Unsplash)

Düsseldorf The lockdown in Germany is extended. The new measures are tough, admitted Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday evening. However, the continued high number of infections, the tense situation in hospitals and intensive care units and new mutations of the coronavirus have induced the federal and state governments to tighten the restrictions further:

These are the most important decisions:

  • In regions with more than 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in one week, people are only allowed to move 15 kilometers away from their place of residence for “good reasons”.

  • Schools and daycare centers will remain closed and will only gradually open again at the beginning of February. Until then, students must attend classes from home. For parents of daycare children there is the option of emergency care.

  • As in spring 2020, people are only allowed to meet one other person who does not live in the household.

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Job boom: The end of the golden era on the job market

JFor decades the German labor market acted like the “superman” of the labor markets. Around the globe, and not least in Europe, many nations have repeatedly struggled with a decline in employment and high unemployment figures. But nothing seemed to throw the Germans off course. Year after year hundreds of thousands of new jobs were created in the Federal Republic of Germany, which provided people with income.

But now, it seems, the German super job market has had its encounter with kryptonite, the only substance that can harm the superhero.

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Job boom: The end of the golden era on the job market

JFor decades the German labor market looked like the “superman” of the labor markets. Around the globe, and not least in Europe, many nations have repeatedly struggled with a decline in employment and high unemployment figures. But nothing seemed to throw the Germans off course. Year after year, hundreds of thousands of new jobs were created in the Federal Republic of Germany, which provided people with an income.

But now, it seems, the German super job market has had its encounter with kryptonite, the only substance that can harm the superhero.

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What employers and employees should know

Test run for corona vaccination in Essen

60 hour weeks for medical staff.

(Photo: imago images / Jochen Tack)

Berlin The weakest first: The vaccinations against the corona virus are to begin with those over 80 years of age and with residents of care facilities. This is what the vaccination regulation provides, which Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) presented on Friday. That will take one to two months, only then will the offer be expanded.

It will be some time before it is the turn of citizens who do not belong to the elderly, to another risk group or to the medical staff. Nevertheless, a few answers to questions that can be important for employees and employers.

Can employers require their employees to be vaccinated?

Health Minister Spahn has repeatedly emphasized that vaccination is voluntary, there should not be a statutory vaccination requirement. This is why employers cannot usually ask their employees to provide information about the presence of a vaccination, says Johanna Wenckebach, Scientific Director of the Hugo Sinzheimer Institute for Labor and Social Law (HSI).

As a rule, they also have no right to request a vaccination, says the lawyer: “The interference with the physical integrity of employees associated with a vaccination is too serious for that.” However, employers should not exert any indirect pressure on employees. “You remain contractually obliged to work, even without a vaccination,” says Wenckebach.

However, pressure could well be built up elsewhere, warns Research Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU): The operators of restaurants or theaters, for example, are allowed to refuse access to guests without a vaccination or negative corona test, referring to their house rules.

What role could companies play in vaccination?

The German Society for Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine (DGAUM) and the Association of German Company and Company Doctors (VDBW) have offered the help of around 12,000 company doctors in Germany in a joint letter to governments and health politicians in the federal and state levels.

By using existing company medical structures, “the regional vaccination centers can be relieved and the vaccination coverage of employees can be accelerated considerably,” write association presidents Hans Drexler and Wolfgang Panter. Vaccination at the workplace can also increase willingness to vaccinate, as additional trips and waiting times are avoided.

First of all, the company doctors are asked where vaccination takes place first – in health care and in welfare. Should they be deployed there on the basis of the Infection Protection Act outside of their usual company medical deployment times, but liability and remuneration issues still need to be clarified, the associations write.

However, a more extensive deployment of the company doctors presupposes that the vaccine can also be easily transported and stored outside the vaccination centers in the future.

Can employees attend a vaccination appointment during working hours?

In labor law, the principle “without work, no wages” applies, says Sören Seidel, specialist lawyer for labor law in the Hamburg office of the international law firm Allen & Overy.
So if employees leave their job to be vaccinated against Sars-CoV-2, there is no entitlement to remuneration for this period.

The case could be different if a vaccination date that is within working hours is firmly allocated by the authority and cannot be postponed by the employee. Then the employee is allowed to attend the vaccination appointment during working hours and keep his right to remuneration – unless such a regulation according to Section 616 of the German Civil Code, which includes “temporary prevention”, is contractually excluded.

On the other hand, if employees can set the vaccination appointment themselves or postpone the appointment outside of working hours, the appointment must also be kept outside of working hours, says Seidel.

Something different is likely to apply to employees who have a higher risk of infection due to their work, for example nursing staff, explains the labor lawyer: “For this group of employees, vaccinations are part of the preventive occupational health care, which should basically take place during working hours.”

In general, it is in the employer’s interest to motivate employees to vaccinate as soon as possible, says Seidel. Against this background, practicable operational solutions for dealing with the interruption of working hours and the remuneration for attending vaccination appointments are to be expected and recommended.

Can nursing staff be forced to work overtime?

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, vaccination information must be provided by doctors. The vaccination itself can also be delegated to medical assistants. Nevertheless, personnel shortages could prevent large sections of the population from being vaccinated quickly.

In April, the Federal Ministry of Labor issued an ordinance that permitted deviations from the statutory working and rest times for certain systemically relevant occupational groups nationwide, such as nursing staff or employees in logistics and retail. This exception regulation expired at the end of July and one sees “currently no need for a new nationwide regulation”, said the Ministry of Labor on request.

Nonetheless, the states that are responsible for enforcing the Working Hours Act are reacting flexibly. Lower Saxony, for example, has issued a general decree that allows employees involved in fighting pandemics to work a 60-hour week. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, medical products such as vaccines, but also food and hygiene products, can be filled, packaged, delivered or placed on Sundays until January 18, 2021.

Individual district governments, such as the one in Arnsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia, also allow deviations from statutory working hours or Sunday rest for setting up vaccination centers.

More: From Biontech to Sputnik V: The anti-corona vaccines work so differently

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How likely is an infection in the office?

Düsseldorf Work in the office is still the norm for many employees, even if the home office is gaining in importance.

On average, German office workers currently still work 3.5 days a week in the office, as Morgan Stanley found.

Many wonder how well they are protected from corona infection in their company. Hardly anyone should know more about it than chemistry professor José Luis Jiménez from the University of Colorado.

He has been investigating the dynamics of air particles for 20 years and, together with nine other experts, published an estimation function in which you can enter very precise data on everyday situations in which the coronavirus can spread.

The model has to be adapted to German office conditions. There are guidelines for the work area per employee, and it can also be assumed that, unlike in schools, masks are not worn. For example, the decisive factor in determining the risk of infection is whether or not people speak out loud at work.

Ventilation also plays a major role, which is different depending on the office building. Then there is the available space and the question of how many colleagues are in a room or conference room.

Let’s look at the first and worst case scenario. An increased risk of infection during work can definitely be determined here:

How can you reduce the risk of infection? Primarily with adequate ventilation. The air exchange rate should be four to seven times an hour. You can do this by opening the windows regularly. However, in many office buildings it is difficult or impossible to open windows. There are air conditioning systems that provide enough fresh air – and can significantly reduce the risk of infection.

graphic

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This is how it goes for self-employed people in a crisis

Freelancer at work

In some industries, the daily rates for the self-employed are more than 1000 euros.

(Photo: Unsplash)

Düsseldorf For the self-employed there was at least some good news in times of crisis. For a few days now, the long-announced November aid can be applied for. With this, the federal government wants to at least somewhat cushion the worst consequences of the corona pandemic for freelancers.

A current survey by the freelance portal Malt in cooperation with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) paints a completely different picture of the German self-employed. The most surprising finding: Even in the crisis, freelancers in Germany are doing comparatively well.

According to this, the typical German self-employed person is 45 years old, male, lives in Berlin and works 44 hours a week as a programmer or data scientist for a daily rate of 735 euros. In other areas, freelancers in Germany even get daily fees of more than 1000 euros – in Europe that is a top figure.

For the study, Malt and BCG surveyed a total of 2,300 freelancers and self-employed persons in Germany, France and Spain, a sixth of them came from Germany.

Even if the survey is not representative, it still throws an exciting light on the situation of Germany’s lone fighters in Corona times. These are the eight most important findings of the study.

1. Germany is a freelance republic – but other countries are catching up

In the survey, the study authors only examined so-called “professional intellectuals”. These are highly qualified self-employed people who have to be clearly distinguished from precarious workers, for example in parts of the gig economy.

“Independent programmers and designers are often mentioned in statistics in the same breath as online taxi drivers or delivery services,” says the study. This distorted picture has to change.

According to this counting method, Germany currently has almost 1.3 million highly qualified self-employed people – and thus more than Spain or France, for example, where the number has increased massively in recent years, as this graphic shows.

2. Highly qualified self-employed people either live in Berlin or Bavaria

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Home office tax flat rate of 5 euros per day

Homeoffice

Employees who work in the home office should be relieved.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The grand coalition has agreed on relief for workers who have to work a lot from home in the corona pandemic. For them there should be a tax lump sum of five euros per day, a maximum of 600 euros per year, it was said in coalition circles.

In addition, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has submitted his draft law for the controversial Mobile Work Act to the departmental vote. The originally planned legal right to work from home for up to 24 days per year is no longer included in the new draft that is available to the Handelsblatt. Employees who want to work mobile from time to time should be given the right to discuss this with their employer.

The Association of Taxpayers welcomed the plan to reduce the tax burden on employees working from home. “Employees who work at home and therefore rely on private resources must receive tax compensation,” said Reiner Holznagel, President of the Taxpayers’ Association, the Handelsblatt. “Tax law must recognize this as well as the flat-rate distance allowance.”

More on the subject:

The leaders of the Union and SPD have discussed the key points of the home office flat rate. Coalition circles said that the budget for the tax authorities was one billion euros. In order to comply with this, it is provided that taxpayers can claim a maximum of 600 euros per year.

The home office flat rate should also be offset against the employee flat rate of 1000 euros. This would treat the lump sum like other advertising expenses. Only those who come up with more than 1,000 euros in advertising costs would benefit.

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