Germany: 3 practical tips for introducing a vaccination bonus in your company

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Companies are dependent on as many of their employees as possible being vaccinated against the coronavirus. Otherwise, staff deployment becomes difficult, as in the case for business trips—or even practically impossible, as in the case for airplane crews or employees in catering establishments.

Monetary incentives involve some legal pitfalls in Germany. A vaccination quorum offers companies a way out here. As soon as the predefined target is reached, the employer pays out a bonus to all employees.

1. Vaccination quorum benchmark: An employer’s tying the bonus to a workforce-wide vaccination quorum rather than the individual's vaccination status counteracts allegations of discrimination and retaliation. This is because when the set quorum is reached, e.g., 85 percent of the workforce, all employees receive the bonus—regardless of whether they are vaccinated.

2. Works council involvement: The employer and the works council must agree on the vaccination bonus in advance, as it is remuneration. Therefore, the principles of distribution—and also the quorum itself—are subject to co-determination. Employers may therefore have to do some real convincing here.

3. Data protection: Because vaccination information involves employee health data, its collection and processing must be justified. The works agreement on the vaccination bonus can also include the data protection justification for processing the health data "vaccination status."  If there is no works council, the employer must obtain individual declarations of consent from the employees.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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