Because of the impending gas supply stop from Russia, the FDP is bringing new home office regulations for employees into play. “Should there be supply bottlenecks, flexible home office regulations for employers will of course not fail because of the FDP,” said parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr of WELT AM SONNTAG. However, the primary goal is to close the impending energy gap as best as possible and thus prevent the offices from having to be cooled down at all.
Meanwhile, trade unions and the opposition fear that companies could increasingly encourage employees to work from home in order to save energy costs. “Home office to save energy in companies is only possible if it is voluntary for the employees,” said Stefan Körzell, board member of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), the newspaper. At the same time, Körzell called on the federal government to establish the home office flat rate in tax law on a permanent basis. “The limitation to a maximum of 120 days and thus the limitation of deductible expenses to 600 euros must be dropped,” said Körzell. So far, employees can deduct five euros from their taxes per working day in the home office, but a maximum of 600 euros per year.
In the Left Party, the request to go back to the home office is “in many cases not a nice offer, but a trick” from the companies, according to Amira Mohamed Ali, co-chairman of the Left Party in the Bundestag. She called for companies to be held accountable. “If employees work from home, companies must assume the resulting energy costs,” said Mohamed Ali. Home office should not be a salary guzzler.
SPD and Greens are still holding back on the question and possible relief. “In principle, financial facilitation of home office options is a good thing,” said Katharina Beck, spokeswoman for financial policy for the Greens. In the second half of the year, the coalition will look at the various regulations relating to working from home and make improvements.
The Deutsche Bundesbank has already announced that it will close offices in the event of an energy shortage in autumn and winter. “As a starting point, we are currently examining – especially with the landlords at our Frankfurt locations – the technical possibilities of only supplying certain floors or parts of the building with heat,” the authority told WELT AM SONNTAG.
Similar tests are running in the state administration in Schleswig-Holstein. There, too, one is looking at how the state’s properties “can be vacated at least in part and the heat supply in the vacated parts can be reduced to a minimum,” according to the Ministry of Finance in Kiel.