The Covid 19 Working Hours Ordinance. § Section 14 (4) of the Working Hours Act has come into force and states that the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is authorized to extend working hours under very specific conditions.
On March 28, 2020, Section 14 (4) ArbZG entered into force. According to this, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is authorized for a limited period of time to issue nationwide exceptions to ArbZG in the current exceptional emergency that has nationwide implications. By means of a legal ordinance from 10.04.2020, exceptions to the provisions of the ArbZG will only be permitted for certain activities and for a limited period until 30.06.2020. This concerns the maximum working hours, the minimum rest periods and the basic prohibition of employment on Sundays and public holidays. The exceptions must be necessary due to Covid 19 epidemic to maintain public safety and order, health care and nursing services of general interest or to supply the population with essential goods. The regulation is to come into force on the day of its promulgation, but will also expire on July 31, 2020.
This means that the compensation periods will not end until after the regulation has expired.
It is always necessary that the extension of the working day working time cannot be avoided by anticipatory organizational measures including necessary disposition of working time, by hiring or by other personnel management measures. These are very vague terms, since in principle no one can foresee when the pandemic will be over. Staff recruitment is unlikely to be possible in times of shortage of skilled workers. Workday working hours may be extended up to 12 hours. It is unusual that smaller motor vehicles, i.e. employed drivers, who normally supply the sales stores with goods, are not covered by § 21a ArbZG, and as a result may not work longer.
Drivers of motor vehicles of more than 3.5 tons or with more than eight seats again fall within the scope of § 21a ArbZG and thereafter a maximum weekly working time for these drivers is 48 hours without compensation and 60 hours with compensation to 48 hours per week on average over six calendar months.
Compensation is possible and also for employees in road transport, because § 21a para 4 ArbZG merely supplements § 3 ArbZG.