So far, every person in Germany has decided for themselves whether they want to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or not.

But can exception rules apply in the workplace?

The most important questions and answers:

Can employers require their employees to have a corona vaccination?

Basically not.

“The vaccination means a strong interference in the legally protected position of the employee.

Something like that would only work on the basis of a legal obligation, ”explains Alexander Bredereck, specialist lawyer for labor law in Berlin.

The legislature consciously decided against such an obligation for the corona vaccination.

Only if that should change in the future and the legislature decides on compulsory vaccination would the assessment of the obligation in the employment relationship also change, explains the specialist lawyer.


Are there any consequences if you don't have a vaccination?

Since there is no compulsory vaccination, the employer cannot take action against those who are not vaccinated or who do not intend to.

The German Trade Union Federation (DGB) explains this in an article on the topic.

The employer remains obliged to work under the employment contract, regardless of whether an employee has been vaccinated or not.

What about employees in health professions - such as nursing staff or doctors?


Due to the particular risk situation in these occupational groups, the employer basically has more extensive powers here, explains Bredereck.

But: "For a compulsory vaccination even these are not enough without legal regulation."

According to the labor lawyer, however, it may be the case that the employee may not be employed without a vaccination and thus also loses his right to remuneration.

He could then also face a personal dismissal if he is unsuitable for his job without a vaccination.

"You have to look at it in the same way as a driver who loses his driver's license."

Do employees have to tell their employer whether they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus?


Employees don't have to do this proactively, explains Bredereck.

It can look different if the employer asks.

Since he also has to take care of the health of the other employees and the question is relevant in this respect, a corresponding question from the employer should be permissible, according to the assessment of the specialist lawyer.

This would also have to be answered truthfully.

The DGB sees it a little more strictly.

It says that employees do not owe their employer any information on the issue.

Vaccination is a private matter of the employees - with the exception of the legally regulated measles vaccination, which applies to employees in daycare centers.

Can the employer refuse access to certain areas if workers are not vaccinated?

For example to the canteen?

That is always a case-by-case decision, explains Bredereck.

The employer needs a specific interest in preventing an employee from being admitted.

"If the general measures - such as distance regulation, mask requirement, home office are sufficient - I don't see it," said the specialist lawyer.

The DGB refers here to Paragraph 612a in the German Civil Code (BGB).

Accordingly, in particular, discrimination against employees who voluntarily do not want to exercise their right to vaccination prohibits such an access regulation.

According to Bredereck, there could be exceptions when it comes to access to places with “special hazard potential”, for example the canteen.

Here too, however, the employer should not arbitrarily refuse access, but only if this is prescribed by law or provided for in the context of operational risk management.

Can the employer create incentives for those who have been vaccinated - for example in the form of a vaccination bonus?

According to specialist lawyer Bredereck, this should be permissible.

“The employer has an understandable interest in the vaccination, the employee gives up a position protected by constitutional rights.

Why shouldn't there be something in return? ”However, the specialist lawyer sees a lot of potential for conflict here in the future.