RWTH Updates Regulations on Working From Home

September 23rd, 2021 | by

The current pandemic situation and the vaccination progress have led to the easing of restrictions and regulations in many areas of life. Nevertheless, the epidemic situation in Germany is set to last until the end of November and is still serious; therefore, all university members must continue to be careful and behave responsibly.

Accordingly, RWTH’s top priority continues to be protecting its employees and students from possible infection.

Furthermore, as an employer, the University has to take all the appropriate technical and organizational measures to reduce personal contact at work. Tasks can still be carried out at the workplace, taking into account the general conditions described below. In the interest of preventing infections, supervisors should continue to approve employees’ requests to work from home for periods covering up to 50% of the individual’s working hours, if this is compatible with work requirements and no special regulation according to the 2G regulation (vaccinated, recovered) outlined below applies. Furthermore, we would have no objections to motions that go beyond this if they are approved between the parties in question.

The option of alternating between working on site and from home is, of course, still available. In such cases, it is also up to the respective supervisors to decide to approve this option.

All RWTH members must also adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The management of the respective university institution must create the conditions required to comply with the existing distancing and hygiene regulations. Due to the legal requirements still in effect, all documentation from the general risk assessment for the workplace from last year must be reviewed immediately and adjusted if necessary.
  • Both managers and employees in the respective university institutions are responsible for complying with the distancing and hygiene regulations.
  • Only in cases where it is required for their work may more than one employee be present in the office at the same time. For employees whose tasks can be carried out from home just as well as on site, working with others in the same office is not permitted. In agreement with their supervisors, employees can arrange to alternate between working on site and from home or they can implement a shift system for the office. This does not apply if the 2G regulation below is in effect.
  • If simultaneous office use is necessary for university operations, the distancing and hygiene regulations must be observed and special protective measures based on the risk assessment must be taken (partitions, face masks in case of temporary inability to comply with the minimum distance requirements, room size, etc.) The ventilation conditions must also be taken into account on a regular basis.
  • The Occupational Safety and Radiation Protection Staff Unit will continue to carry out spot checks to determine whether these requirements are being met.
  • In laboratories, workshops, etc., appropriate measures must still be taken to ensure that employees can work in a low-risk environment, as specified above. If necessary, you can contact the Occupational Safety and Radiation Protection Staff Unit for further advice on this matter.
  • The federal government has also made it possible to adjust protective measures for fixed groups with confirmed 2G-compliant status. Such adjustments can only be requested by the respective employees. Any adjustments are granted on a voluntary basis and may be repealed. Neither RWTH nor the respective supervisors are authorized to inquire about an employee’s vaccination status or the like.
  • Specific regulations for implementation can be found in the linked risk assessment, which must be signed by all employees in the group as well as the respective supervisors.
  • The use of the risk assessment’s special regulations in the case of confirmed 2G-compliant status requires a responsible approach, taking into account the risks for the employees.
  • In-person meetings are allowed, if necessary, however, only individuals whose input is absolutely necessary for the respective topic may attend the in-person meeting. The respective superiors shall decide on the necessity of an in-person meeting as well as the invited participants. Here, too, the known distancing and hygiene regulations must be observed.
  • When it comes to meetings of bodies established on the basis of the Higher Education Act (the Senate, Rectorate, faculty councils, appointment committees, etc.), special regulations based on the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance apply (including the 3G regulation – vaccinated, recovered, tested). Department 1.0 will issue a corresponding notice on this matter.
  • Please note that if someone who attended an in-person meeting develops symptoms of Covid-19, the local health department will, as a rule, issue a quarantine order to all participants who have not been fully vaccinated, in accordance with the current guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI.)
  • We can expect the same approach from the health department for work in shared offices, workshops, etc. With this adapted guideline, the RKI is reacting to the higher transmission rates of the virus mutations.
  • The work-from-home arrangements are effective through November 30, 2021. The Occupational Safety and Radiation Protection Staff Unit has published an overview of suitable, special protective measures at work.

Comments are closed.