Home office and on-campus operations
What are the rules regarding home office during the period of limited on-campus activity? (Updated: 7 January 2021)
The university management has decided to significantly limit on-campus operations until further notice.
In concrete terms, this means the following:
- In those areas where the technical and organisational possibility exists and the tasks are suitable, employees are requested to work from home as much as possible during the above period and only come to the university when it is unavoidable.
- In those areas where working from home is possible only to a limited extent, employees are requested to reduce their contact with others by, for example, working in shifts or working some days from home.
- In those areas where working from home is not possible due to the tasks required, employees can continue to work on campus. Due to the restriction of on-campus teaching operations and the transfer of selected areas of work to the home-office setting, it will also be possible for those employees still working from the university to reduce their contacts.
- Independently of the above, it is of course also possible for employees to take holidays or use up overtime hours.
Those employees working at the Berliner Tor Campus during this period have the opportunity to use the parking spots for delivery and tradespeople located on Wallstraße. The gate will be open. This will give employees the option of avoiding public transport.
The Personnel Department requests that the organisational units agree on suitable arrangements with their employees.
If you have questions, please contact the Personnel Department: HAW-Personalservice (@) haw-hamburg.de
Professors are requested to agree on the necessary measures with the head of their department.
If changes to the City of Hamburg’s Covid-19 Containment Ordinance will impact university operations, we will inform employees accordingly via email.
What work arrangements are currently in place for employees with pre-existing health conditions or disabilities? (Updated: 9 November 2020)
The home-office measures apply especially to employees with pre-existing health conditions (e.g. conditions impacting the lungs, circulatory system, liver or kidneys; diabetes mellitus; or oncological illnesses) that put them at risk of developing severe complications from a COVID-19 infection or employees with disabilities whose disability puts them at risk of serious complications.
Additionally, if the tasks required in the position are not suitable for home-office but the employee still wishes to work from home, alternative tasks can be organised. In these cases the home-office arrangement will be agreed upon by the supervisor and the employee following presentation of a medical certificate (Attest). This certificate should specify that carrying out the tasks of the position on campus is not recommended because the employee belongs to a high-risk group. The medical condition does not need to be indicated on the certificate. Any costs arising from obtaining the medical certificate will not be covered by the employer.
If a position cannot be completed from home and alternative work packages are also not available, a risk assessment must be carried out by the head of the organisational unit in advance of any further decisions. Where necessary, the doctor from Hamburg's occupational health service (Arbeitsmedizinischer Dienst), Frau Dr. Sanders, or the specialists from HAW Hamburg's Occupational Safety Unit (AKU) can provide support
(arbeitsschutz (@) haw-hamburg.de).
As a rule, the use of offices by more than one employee should be avoided. This means that two-person offices should only be used by one person at a time wherever possible. This can be achieved through home office, alternating shifts or the formation of separate teams.
The use of offices by more than one person is only permitted if an area of between 16 and 20 square metres (the usual size of a two-person office) is available for each workspace or this is absolutely necessary due to the work processes/tasks. In this case, the head of the unit is required to complete a risk assessment in advance. The risk assessment form for the use of office space by more than one employee can be used for this purpose.
The occupational health and safety specialists from the HAW Hamburg Occupational Safety Unit can provide support where necessary (arbeitsschutz (@) haw-hamburg.de).
Are on-campus discussions, meetings and events that are not directly related to teaching permitted? (Updated: 3 February 2021)
Wherever possible, discussions, meetings and events should be carried out online. If this is not possible, the organiser should critically evaluate whether the event in question is absolutely essential. If this is the case, such discussions, meetings and events can only take place on campus when they are directly related to the university's responsibilities pursuant to sections 3 and 4 of the Hamburg Higher Education Act.
In the planning and execution of the discussion/meeting/event, the following requirements must be fulfilled:
- Medical masks must be worn by all attendees when entering and leaving the room. They may be removed during the meeting/event, provided that all other hygiene and physical distancing measures can be observed.
- The maximum room capacity noted at the entry must be adhered to. This will ensure that an area of 10 m2 is allocated for each person and the minimum distance of 1.5 metres between participants can be maintained.
- Participants' contact information must be collected via a QR code. (Please see 'How is access to HAW Hamburg buildings and rooms being managed?')
- Participants must be briefed on the rules outlined in the university's Hygiene Plan.
- If there is not a technical ventilation system, the room must be aired regularly.
Whether or not other preventative measures are required should be determined, where appropriate, via a supplementary risk assessment. The Risk assessment form for events can be used for this purpose.
The staff of the Occupational Safety Unit can provide assistance and support where necessary (arbeitsschutz (@) haw-hamburg.de).
As of 2 December 2020, you will need to scan the QR code posted next to the meeting room door and check in by submitting your contact information before entering. The check-in process is the same as in the cafeterias: you do not need to download an app or anything similar; all you need to do is set a PIN once. You will then need to enter your address and phone number. You will need to check out when you leave the room in order to free up the room's capacity.
If you do not have a smartphone, another person can enter your details for you. The comprehensive and digital collection of contact information is intended to make it easier for the health authorities to trace and get in touch with the contacts of the infected person in the event of a corona infection.
Your information will be saved for a maximum of 28 days and will subsequently be deleted.
If a room does not have a QR code or the code does not work, please contact the Faculty Service Offices (in the faculties) or the central Room Management Unit (for centrally administered rooms, including the lecture halls at Berliner Tor 5) (Flaechenmanagement (@) haw-hamburg.de).
What preventative measures are being taken for workplaces with public traffic (e.g. libraries, Faculty Service Offices, ITSC Chip Card Services Office)? (Updated: 1 September 2020)
In areas with public traffic (e.g. libraries, Faculty Service Offices, mailroom), transparent dividers will be installed to protect employees. The question of whether additional measures are needed can be determined via a risk assessment where necessary. The occupational safety staff from the Occupational Safety/Conflict and Environmental Management Unit (arbeitsschutz (@) haw-hamburg.de) can provide support if required.
Can job interviews and appointment processes be carried out at the current time? (Updated: 3 February 2021)
It is possible to hold job interviews on campus if they are conducted in adequately large and well-ventilated rooms, provided that the hygiene measures outlined in Section 12 of the Framework Hygiene Plan are maintained and a risk assessment is conducted in advance. The D4-1 risk assessment form entitled ‘Risk of contact with SARS-CoV-2 through meetings and events’ can be used for this purpose.
As part of appointment processes, sample courses and lectures with a large number of attendees are usually held. Given the current level of corona infections, it is not possible to hold these events on campus at this time. However, discussions between the applicant and the appointment committee that involve a smaller number of participants can take place on campus, provided that the hygiene measures outlined in Section 12 of the Framework Hygiene Plan are maintained and a risk assessment is conducted in advance. Here too, the D4-1 risk assessment form entitled ‘Risk of contact with SARS-CoV-2 through meetings and events’ can be used for this purpose.
Corona tests and sick notes
The city of Hamburg has compiled an FAQ list on the topic of corona tests containing all of the key information.
Am I permitted to work in HAW Hamburg buildings if I have symptoms of a cold? (Updated: 9 September 2020)
No, please don't enter HAW Hamburg buildings if you have a cold. Please inform your supervisor that you cannot come to HAW Hamburg and decide together how to proceed.
If you are still able to work despite your symptoms, you can work from home. If you are not able to work, the usual rules regarding a doctor's note apply.
Due to the coronavirus situation, you should discuss what steps you need to take with your doctor. Doctors are responsible for determining whether a corona test is necessary.
You can return to HAW Hamburg without having taken a corona test (please note that different rules apply for employees returning from travel). However, you should be fever-free and feeling well for at least one day before coming back to the university.
Am I permitted to work in HAW Hamburg buildings if someone who lives with me has symptoms of a cold? (Updated: 21 October 2020)
Here a distinction needs to be made between whether a corona infection is suspected or not.
If a corona infection is not suspected, you are permitted to work in HAW Hamburg buildings, provided you do not have cold-like symptoms.
If a corona infection is suspected, please wait for the test result. In this case please inform your supervisor that you cannot come to HAW Hamburg and discuss with them whether you can work from home.
How should I apply for sick leave if I have only mild upper respiratory symptoms? (Updated: 9 December 2020)
On 3 December 2020, the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) modified the guidlines for obtaining a sick note (Krankschreibung) in the event that employees are unable to work. Doctors across Germany are now permitted to provide sick notes for up to seven days off work by telephone to patients suffering from minor respiratory infections. This regulation is initially effective until 31 March 2021. The doctor is required to personally assess the patient's condition via a detailed telephone interview. One extension of the sick note via telephone for an additional seven days is permitted.
If you have tested positive for Covid-19, you will not necessarily receive a doctor's note (Krankschreibung) excusing you from work. Doctors are only permitted to issue sick notes if the infected individual also has symptoms. In the event that you are ill and unable to work, the notes on what to do in cases of illness provided in the employee portal apply. You must also inform HAW Hamburg of your absence/illness if you are required to quarantine by the health authorities.
If you have been required to quarantine but do not have any symptoms, please submit the letter from the health authorities informing you of the need to quarantine to the Personnel Department. As long as you are not unable to work due to illness, your duty to work remains in place. If this is the case, the work can be completed from home. Alternatively, you can use up overtime or take holiday days. It should be noted that – unlike when you have been issued a sick note – previously approved holidays cannot be reversed.
Children and family
Effective 5 January 2021, the number of so-called 'children's sick days' has been temporarily increased (until 31 December 2021). The Human Resources Agency of the City of Hamburg sent a mail on the topic to staff on 20 January 2021.
The legal basis for the receipt of child illness benefits and the increased number of children's sick days is contained in Paragraph 45 of the fifth book of the German Social Code (§ 45 SGB V). In brief, the following applies:
Regular employees (under the collective agreement):
The number of children's sick days available is 20 work days per parent and child, up to a maximum of 45 days (single parents are allocated 40 days per child, up to a maximum of 90 days).
Parents are entitled to use these when a child is sick or in the following cases:
- If children who are not ill need to be cared for at home because daycare facilities are temporarily closed, the legal requirement to attend school has been lifted, or eligibility for childcare has been limited
- When children are not permitted to enter childcare facilities (e.g. due to officially imposed quarantine)
- In the event of officially mandated school or company closures
In all other respects, the provisions of § 45 SGB V shall apply. This means, among other things, that the regulations only apply to children who are under the age of 12 or who are disabled and dependent on assistance and when no other person living in the household is available to provide childcare.
As proof, please submit a certificate from the daycare or school management together with the application for children's sick days. Please use the form that is also used in regular cases under § 45 SGB V: Notification of request for changes and send both via your supervisor to the Personnel Department staff member responsible for your file. This can be done digitally; subsequent submission of the original documents is not necessary.
How do I postpone my parental leave if my workload is too heavy as a result of the corona pandemic? (Updated: 20 July 2020)
The federal government has legislated that parents can postpone, interrupt or extend already-approved parental leave if an increased workload so requires. Parents can postpone the months in which they were to receive parental-leave benefits if they are working more than planned as a result of the corona pandemic and have thus exceeded the maximum number of hours that can be worked before losing a share of the benefits or entitlement to the partnership bonus. The increased workload due to the corona situation and the resulting request for a change to the parental leave period must be suggested and confirmed by the supervisor. The supervisor and the employee should contact the Personnel Department to implement the postponement. The postponement can be requested for parental-leave months up until 31 December 2020. Payment of benefits for the postponed months must begin by 30 June 2021 at the latest.
Holidays and business travel
The Federal Foreign Office continues to warn against non-essential tourist travel abroad. Please obtain information about which countries are currently subject to travel warnings.
A high-risk area is a country or region outside the Federal Republic of Germany in which there is an increased risk of coronavirus infection at the time of entry into the Federal Republic of Germany. A list of high-risk areas is published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Please be sure to consult this list both before and during travel.
Upon entering Germany from abroad, individuals are also required to digitally register their entry into the country.
- Information about digital registration on entry
- To the digital registration form (you can select the language at the top of the page)
You are required to obtain information, both before and after travel to another country, about whether you are obligated to quarantine at home upon your return – where necessary by consulting with the responsible health authority. The Hamburg Covid-19 Containment Ordinance (HmbSARS-CoV-2-EindämmungsVO) stipulates that travellers who have spent time in a high-risk area abroad at any point in time during the 10 days prior to entering Germany or the city of Hamburg are obligated to quarantine at home directly following their return for a period of 10 days. This quarantine can be ended on the fifth day following entry into Germany, at the earliest, if you receive and present a negative corona test result. The test cannot be carried out before the fifth day following entry into Germany. For travellers entering Germany from a high-risk area, a compulsory corona test is also planned. As of 11 January, they will be required to take a test either within the 48 hours before arrival or directly upon entering Germany.
The state-level provisions regarding quarantine at home are contained in Part 8, sections 35, 36 and 36a of the containment ordinance (version: 30 October 2020). In the event that you are required to quarantine, you must contact your supervisor immediately to determine the further course of action. (Please see below for more specific information.)
With regard to the issue of who will cover the cost of testing, we refer you to the Federal Ministry of Health website:
'Until 1 December, travellers entering Germany who have spent time in a high-risk area within the previous 14 days are entitled to free testing within the first 10 days following their return.' (updated 16 October 2020)
Until the fifth or, if applicable, tenth day, the following applies, as outlined in the Human Resources Agency letter of 30 June 2020:
- If your travel destination has already been designated a high-risk area by the RKI on the day that you enter that area/country, you are required to take holidays or flex days during the subsequent quarantine at home. You are not entitled to receive paid leave.
- If your travel destination has not been designated a high-risk area by the RKI on the day that you enter it, you are not required to plan for a quarantine at home in preparation for the eventuality that the country is declared a high-risk area during your stay. If the latter does occur, you can work from home or take holidays or flex days upon your return.
In these cases, please contact your supervisor to determine how to proceed. We ask professors to please contact the head of their department and the administrative head of their faculty.
Supervisors and faculty heads are requested to inform the Personnel Department about such cases in an email to haw-personalservice (@) haw-hamburg.de.
The following applies to travel abroad:
Individuals who travel to a country designated by RKI as a high-risk area on the day of entry must allow for a post-travel quarantine period when planning their travel and holiday. The following points apply:
- The length of the stay abroad is irrelevant.
- If an individual travels to more than one country, each of them must be assessed with regard to whether they are listed by the RKI as high-risk countries.
- In these cases, employees are not entitled to paid leave.
- The decision about whether an employee may be excluded from the quarantine requirement – i.e. an exception pursuant to section 36 paragraph 5 of the Hamburg regulations for containment – will be made by the responsible health authority at the request of the employee (upon their return).
- Employees must apply for sufficient holiday time (for both the travel abroad and the quarantine period).
- If an employee is not able to return to work on time due to the quarantine and has not applied for sufficient holidays, this will be considered an unexcused absence from work and the corresponding labour-law and employer measures will be taken.
- Any holiday or flex days planned for a quarantine period can be cancelled if the quarantine turns out not to be necessary. Whether the quarantine requirement can be lifted must be determined by the responsible health authority. If this is the case, the employee must inform his or her supervisor.
Individuals travelling to a country not classified by the RKI as a high-risk area on the day of entry do not have to plan to quarantine at home upon their return. In the event that the country or one of the countries visited are classified as high-risk before an individual returns to Germany, meaning that a quarantine period at home is necessary, the following points apply:
- The employee may work from home or, where appropriate, take holiday or flex days.
- In general, no labour-law or employer disciplinary measures will be taken.
The above points apply only to individuals entering or returning to Germany from abroad. They do not apply to domestic travel. Travel from high-risk areas within Germany continues to be possible. However, the federal and state governments urge people to avoid non-necessary domestic travel to or from areas where the number of new infections per 100,000 residents over the previous seven days has exceeded 50.
Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, the employer is permitted to ask employees whether they visited a high-risk area (abroad) or a domestic area with a high rate of infection during their holidays. Employees are obligated to answer this question.
The quarantine measures for travellers entering and leaving Germany contained in the Hamburg Covid-19 Contaiment Ordinance (in German only) will remain in force until 30 November 2020.
The precise quarantine regulations from the City of Hamburg's Human Resources Agency for travellers entering and re-entering Germany from abroad are contained in the letters of 30 June 2020 and 1 November 2020 from the agency (in German only).
The Executive Board has decided that the following graduated procedure will apply to business travel within Germany as of 20 May 2020: In a first step, employees should determine whether a phone or video conference will suffice in place of business travel or an in-person meeting. If this is not possible for technical, organisational or content-related reasons, employees should assess, in a second step, whether the business travel or event is absolutely essential or can be postponed. If it is absolutely essential and cannot be postponed, the necessary protective measures must be implemented (adequate physical distancing, proper airing of rooms, etc.). Supervisors can approve absolutely necessary business travel on the basis of the above criteria. The reasons why the business travel is absolutely essential must be noted on a separate piece of paper accompanying the application for business travel. The extra document with the justification must be included not only with the application for business travel but also with the subsequently submitted travel expenses form. The absence of this justification will negatively impact the insurance coverage and the reimbursement of travel costs.
In the case of business travel abroad, it is also necessary to first consider whether an online format can substitute for travel. If this is not possible, the actual necessity of the travel must be critically assessed. If it is indeed deemed essential, the business travel can be approved, as long as the destination country is not designated a high-risk area. Before departure, the employee must ensure that the country has not been designated a high-risk area in the interim. If it has been designated as such, the employee cannot travel. If the country is declared a high-risk area during the employee's stay, he or she must quarantine at home for 14 days upon return. The quarantine requirement can be lifted following a negative corona test (Section 35, Hamburg Covid-19 Containment Ordinance, version: 23 September 2020). HAW Hamburg requests that you complete this test on the fifth day following your return at the earliest, and only come to the university once you have received a negative result. If you are not tested on the fifth day or later, please do not come to the university for 14 days.
As is the case for domestic business travel, the reasons why the foreign business travel is absolutely essential must be noted on a separate piece of paper accompanying the application for business travel. Again, the extra document with the justification must be included not only with the application but also with the subsequently submitted travel expenses form. The absence of this justification will negatively impact the insurance coverage and the reimbursement of travel costs.
Advising and counselling
The majority of HAW Hamburg employees are currently working from home. The Occupational Health Management team has compiled information for HAW Hamburg staff about the challenges and stresses of home office.
You can find concrete tips for staying healthy and taking care of yourself and one another in this unusual time on the Beschäftigtenportal under 'Gesundes Home-Office' (in German only).
Occupational health and safety consultation for employees
The Hamburg Occupational Health and Safety Service (AMD) has implemented telephone office hours in accordance with the BMAS’s SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety standards. Particularly those HAW Hamburg employees with pre-existing health conditions can use this service. It is currently operating daily from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and can be reached at 040-42841-1414. The form that additional occupational health and safety preventative measures will take is still being clarified.
Family, children and caregiving
For tips and advising services related to child-rearing and caregiving while working at home, please contact the Family Office at familienbuero (@) haw-hamburg.de and see the information on our links page (in German only).
Equal opportunities and anti-discrimination
In the event of discrimination or if you have questions related to equal opportunities issues, please contact the central equal opportunities representatives:
- Hanna.Klimpe (@) haw-hamburg.de (academic staff)
- meike.rissiek (@) haw.hamburg.de (technical and administrative staff)
You can also contact the team at the Equal Opportunities Office.
The HAW Hamburg Personalrat (Staff Council) provides advice on the following topics:
- Workplace requirements in teaching and administration
- Home office
- Working hours
Contact us at personalrat (@) haw-hamburg.de or by phone at 42875-9120.
Health and support services
- People with health-related limitations can obtain information from the representatives for individuals with disabilities and chronic illnesses: maike.messerschmidt (@) haw-hamburg.de and barbara.eckelmann (@) haw-hamburg.de
- If you have questions about staying healthy and about the stresses of working from home, please contact bgm (@) haw-hamburg.de and see the information on the 'Gesundes Home-Office' page on the Intranet.
- In the event of conflicts between employees, you can contact the conflict moderation team: konfliktlotsen (@) haw-hamburg.de
- In the event of conflicts between students and university staff, you can contact the advisors at the Confidential Dispute Advising Office (Vertrauensstelle).
- Because of the current increase in domestic violence, we would like to especially direct your attention to the support staff for victims of sexual harassment and violence: