The News Today
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10.21.20
Empty Office

Germany Wants to Make Remote Work a Legal Right

__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Future Society
Image via Pxhere

Enforced Balance

The German government is preparing to publish a draft law that would grant employees the legal right to work from home.

It’s an unusually progressive initiative — and lent immediacy by the coronavirus pandemic — that’s meant to support workers and grant them a better work-life balance, according to the World Economic Forum. By legally enforcing workers’ choice to work remotely whenever possible, Germany could serve as a giant experiment in how jobs will function even after it’s safe to be around others again.

Unfortunately, many jobs might get left behind in the new initiative, like those in the service industry or manufacturing.

Incredible Foresight

Hubertus Heil, Germany’s Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, has actually been calling for a work-from-home mandate since early 2019, according to the WEF.

Now, as the pandemic has forced many workers to stay home anyway, Heil told the Financial Times that the draft law would also protect workers’ rights to keep their work-life blurring from blending into nonexistence.

Who Wins?

One of the remaining challenges, the WEF reports, is figuring out how the law might impact workers who have to show up to work, as well as how the law might impact men and women who stay home differently.

“How we can turn technological progress, new business models and higher productivity,” Heil told the Financial Times, “into progress not only for a few, but for many people?”

READ MORE: Germany drafting law to give people the legal right to work from home [World Economic Forum]

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