Corona quarantine: What must be observed in legal respects?
The Deutsche Anwaltauskunft provides information on what quarantine as a precautionary measure against further spread of the corona virus legally means for those affected.
The corona virus is spreading - and the world is taking precautions to protect people from the disease. People who are ill or suspected of being infected are usually isolated. This is to prevent the virus from spreading.
Who enforces the quarantine? Do I have to follow this?
Whether you are isolated in hospital or have to stay at home: the health department will decide who to quarantine. "Those affected must then comply and may not leave the quarantine", warns attorney Dr. Rudolf Ratzel of the Medical Law Working Group in the German Bar Association (DAV). Otherwise, the order of the public health department could be enforced in court. Those affected can then be picked up by the police. If there is a risk that a person will leave the quarantine station on his own, the hospital may lock him in there. However, this also requires a court order.
I am in quarantine: do I still get my salary?
That depends: "If a person is actually sick and is given a sick note, the normal rules for continued salary payment in case of illness apply", explains attorney Doris-Maria Schuster from the DAV's Arbeitsgemeinschaft Arbeitsrecht (Working Group for Employment Law). One then receives one's salary from the employer for six weeks and then sick pay. If, on the other hand, a person is only quarantined as a precautionary measure, the law for the prevention and control of infectious diseases comes into effect. The net salary then continues to come from the employer. However, the employer can later recover the amount from the authority that ordered the quarantine.
Do I have to work in quarantine if my company allows mobile working?
"If you can work and have the work equipment with you, then yes," says attorney Schuster. So anyone who has just returned from a business trip, has their laptop and documents with them and is not (yet) sick, will also have to work in the isolation ward. This is part of the duty of loyalty to the employer. If you are ill or have to work on machines, for example, you cannot work in quarantine.
Who pays for the loss of earnings of self-employed persons?
If the self-employed or freelancers are quarantined, they receive loss of earnings in accordance with the Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases. The compensation is calculated on the basis of the last annual income reported to the tax office.
I was in the risk area or had contact with an infected person: Can I just stay home from work?
"Even if you suspect that you have been infected, you should under no circumstances stay at home on your own," warns the lawyer from Hamburg. This is a refusal to work, in the worst case it could lead to dismissal. However, it is important to inform the employer about a possible infection. "He can then decide whether to release the employee", Doris-Maria Schuster added.
I have to go into quarantine: What happens if I wanted to go on a trip during this time? Can I withdraw from the trip free of charge?
As with most travel law questions, it depends on whether the travelers have booked a package tour or are traveling on their own. Package travelers usually have a better chance of being able to change their travel plans - free of charge - or to get their money back.
However, people who are isolated for medical reasons and have booked a trip for this time would be in a bad position either way: "People who are quarantined in Germany can therefore not cancel a package tour free of charge", explains lawyer Dr. Stefanie Bergmann of the DAV. After all, it is not the tour operator's fault that the traveller cannot take the holiday. "In most cases, however, a travel cancellation insurance would be a substitute", says lawyer Jan Bartholl of the DAV. An illness or a quarantine on the instructions of the authorities is a serious and unforeseeable reason for not taking a trip.
What happens if I am quarantined abroad, as happened to passengers on a cruise ship in Japan?
Individual travellers are responsible for their own transportation: if they miss their scheduled return flight because they are not allowed to leave the ship, they have to rebook their flight themselves. Or even pay for a new flight out of their own pocket. "In the case of package tours, the organiser has a duty of care", explains attorney Bartholl. He is the first point of contact for passengers in quarantine and helps to find a return flight for the time after quarantine.
"However, the additional costs for the flight will probably have to be borne by the traveller himself if the flight takes place after the end of the regular package tour," estimates lawyer Bergmann. This would be the case, for example, if a traveller had to go into quarantine for two weeks five days before the end of his holiday. The quarantine or the virus is an unavoidable, exceptional circumstance for which the tour operator does not have to pay damages.
Can I cancel a trip to China now free of charge and get my money back?
Travelers can usually cancel a trip to HubeiProvince, where the corona virus has broken out, free of charge. The German Foreign Office has issued a partial travel warning for this area. In Jan Bartholl's experience, however, tour operators are generally accommodating when it comes to trips to China: "They allow travellers to cancel or rebook trips to other areas of China free of charge. However, this is not possible for trips to other countries - even if the airline cancels the flight. "If, for example, you book a flight to Malaysia and the round trip on site separately, you cannot cancel the trip free of charge if the airline cancels the flight," warns lawyer Bergmann from Hamburg.
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