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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure DE-2021-26/1972 Updated – measures in Germany

Sars-CoV-2 Occupational safety and health standard and ordinance

Sars-CoV-Arbeitsschutzstandard und -verordnung

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 25 June 2021 – 25 May 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
Author Sandra Vogel and Marc Breitenbroich (IW)
Measure added 15 July 2021 (updated 31 May 2022)

Background information

The risk of infection by the virus exceeds the known risks to safety and health at work. In 2021 the federal labour minister released several measures for addressing this problem. For developing occupational safety and health standards, the ministry co-operates with the sectoral health insurers. A new law act defines the employers obligations with regard to the safety and health prevention against COVID-19.

Content of measure

The Sars-CoVid-2 occupational and safety standard (Arbeitsschutzstandard) aims at defining standards for health and safety protection on top of existing occupiational safety and health legislation (Arbeitsschutzgesetz). The measures are covered by the legislation on the pandemic (Infketionsschutzgesetzgebung) which grants government extraordinary legislative power. However, the measures first suggest technical measures to be installed, second they suggest organisational measures and third they ask for the conduct risk assessments. The standards define general principles such as the implementation of technical and of organisational measures and of individual risk assessments. Particular sectoral measures shall be defined by the sectoral employer liability associations (Berufsgenossenschaften) in cooperation with the accident insurance.

In June 2021 the Sars-Cov-2-occupational safety and health ordinance was released. It regulates that social distancing measures ought to be raised, face-to-face communication ought to be substituted by digital communication and that employers must offer COVID tests.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

16 March 2022

In March 2022, the Sars-CoV-2 Occupational safety and health standard ordinance was extended until 25 May 2022. The latest adaption of the ordinance stipulated that basic protections measures were to be determined by businesses based on a health risk assessment. Furthermore employers needed to apprise their employees on the risks of COVID-19 and provide information on vaccination possibilities. Finally, it was agreed that the ordinance will expire on 25 May 2022.

22 November 2021

At the end of November 2021, the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) prologned the duration of the Sars-CoV-2 occupational and safety standard ordinance until 19 March 2021. This step was thought to be necessary as the pandemic continued and measures in other areas of life, such as reduction of personal contacts, could not be tightened anymore. Strengthening OHS measures was therefore deemed a necessary and useful step in fighting the pandemic and protect employees. The revised ordinance also asks employers to contribute to higher vaccination rates by allowing employees to leave work for vaccination appointments or offer vaccinations at the premises of the employer (in cooperation with company physicians).

06 September 2021

At the beginning of September 2021, the Federal Government prolonged the duration of the official epidemic situation of national significance to 24 November 2021. As the duration of the Sars-CoV-2 occupational and safety standard ordinance is linked to duration of the official epidemic situation, the ordinance is also applicable until 24 November 2021.

Use of measure

No data yet.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


No direct involvement, consulted.

Views and reactions

Appreciated by the trade unions, less so by the employers.


  • 25 June 2021: Sars-CoV-2- Arbeitsschutzverordnung
  • 22 November 2021: Revised Sars-CoV-2 Ordinance (
  • 16 March 2022: Health ordinance expires (


Eurofound (2021), Sars-CoV-2 Occupational safety and health standard and ordinance, measure DE-2021-26/1972 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.