Anyone who is currently calling a representative’s office will occasionally hear children’s voices in the background. The call is diverted to the cell phone of an employee who works at home at the desk or kitchen table. Like many other employers, the Bundestag had to adapt its work to the realities of the corona pandemic within a very short period of time – while at the same time maintaining its functionality.
As of next Wednesday, the federal government wants to oblige employers to enable their employees to work from home. How has mobile working worked in the Bundestag so far? An overview:
The employees of the Bundestag administration are also asked to work more in the home office. However, of the 3,000 employees in the parliamentary administration, only around 1,870 employees can work from home. The ushers, messengers, porters, drivers, craftsmen and police officers must of course be present. According to a spokesman, the presence of the employees on site is necessary especially in the week of meetings.
And this is not actually possible for everyone who could theoretically work from home. So far there is not enough technical equipment in the form of laptops, for example.
As a result, only 75 percent of employees with home office-enabled tasks can currently work from home. The rate is expected to rise to 86 percent soon. The Bundestag is in a comfortable position because it is financially well equipped – so that this quota cannot necessarily be compared with other administrations.
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There is no general overview in the Bundestag of the number of employees who currently work from home. In addition to the staff of the parliamentary administration, more than 3,000 people are employed in the offices of the MPs and the parliamentary groups.
From the Union faction it is said that the employees are mostly, with a few exceptions, in the home office. Those who are on site are sitting alone in their offices. That has been done for a long time, said a spokesman.
From the Green parliamentary group in the Bundestag, where there was a first corona case in March of last year, it is said on request that more than 80 percent of employees are currently working from home. In general, however, everyone would have the opportunity to work remotely from home – except for the employees of the post office and service department. Physical presence is essential there.
“In the parliamentary group, the employees are asked to behave as little contact as possible in their working life and to adhere to the applicable hygiene and distance rules,” says a spokesman. Specifically, the employees who had to come to the office were asked to travel by bike or only use local public transport during off-peak times. In general, the rule applies that offices can only be occupied individually.
Given the Due to the increased corona numbers, the SPD has been dispensing with face-to-face meetings of the parliamentary group since December, and the MPs have been discussing the most important topics of the respective meeting week in a video conference This means that significantly fewer employees have to be present on site.
“Reduce presence as much as possible by the end of February”
The parliamentary managing directors Carsten Schneider and Gabriele Katzmarek warned the SPD members and their employees again a few days ago to “move all work to the home office as much as possible”. The letter said that there had to be “no meetings at all”. “By the end of February, the presence should be reduced as far as possible.”
There was a similar announcement in the left parliamentary group. The “overwhelming majority” of employees there have been working from home for months. “We make sure that everyone who can work from home does that too,” said parliamentary group spokesman Michael Schlick.
On request, the FDP parliamentary group does not give any specific figures on how many of their employees are currently working on the move. In meeting weeks, there tends to be more employees in the office. “However, it remains at a minimum,” says a spokesman. As the “first digital faction”, all employees are enabled to work on the move, and digital instruction has also been provided for this.
In the past, some MPs at the AfD have not taken infection protection as carefully as was seen in the plenary hall. At least as far as the employees are concerned, a parliamentary group spokesman assures: “After consultation with the line manager and the human resources department, every employee of the AfD parliamentary group has the option of working from home.” “Made use of. However, the group did not provide any specific figures.