Unpaid leave during COVID-19 crisis

22 posts in this topic

Hi,


I am a non-EU citizen with a German work permit and residence permit for 3 years based on a full time work contract with a tech company in Berlin. My company has suggested that, should I wish to, I may take a 6 month unpaid leave during the corona virus crisis. My question is, how will this affect my health insurance? I won't have money to pay rent or groceries, will I be eligible for any help from the government during these 6 months? I am half way through the contract and I have paid into the German social security system for 1.5 years consistently now. I have public health insurance.

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16 minutes ago, zsyed said:

Hi,


I am a non-EU citizen with a German work permit and residence permit for 3 years based on a full time work contract with a tech company in Berlin. My company has suggested that, should I wish to, I may take a 6 month unpaid leave during the corona virus crisis. My question is, how will this affect my health insurance? I won't have money to pay rent or groceries, will I be eligible for any help from the government during these 6 months? I am half way through the contract and I have paid into the German social security system for 1.5 years consistently now. I have public health insurance.

 

Don’t quit. First find out your rights from the Arbeitsamt (Argentur fuer Arbeit) and start filling out that paperwork. But that is only if you have a work contract. What I need to know is if you are a freelancer or not. This will decide if you are ALG1 or 2. 

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18 minutes ago, klingklang77 said:

 

Don’t quit. First find out your rights from the Arbeitsamt (Argentur fuer Arbeit) and start filling out that paperwork. But that is only if you have a work contract. What I need to know is if you are a freelancer or not. This will decide if you are ALG1 or 2. 

 

 

Thanks for responding. Yes, I have a work contract, I am a full time German employee. They tried to make it void by making a silly excuse this week. It seems they are trying to reduce staff.

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Just now, zsyed said:

 

 

Thanks for responding. Yes, I have a work contract, I am a full time German employee. They tried to make it void by making a silly excuse this week. It seems they are trying to reduce staff.

 

Well, if they try to make it void you can go to a labor lawyer. There is something different about short term contracts with regards to that, though. I’m not a lawyer. 

 

I’ll give you my experience. 

 

I had a 2 year contract. When it was over I applied for ALG1 and got about 80% of my salary per month. My health insurance and Rentenversicherung was covered. GEZ was not. ALG2 only covers GEZ. 

 

That lasted for about a year. I think that’s all you need to know as I don’t want to make your head swim around with thoughts. 

 

What was the silly excuse? There is probably a Beratungsstelle in your city. Use them. The one in Munich has a lawyer once a week. You can probably do telephone appointments now. Have a copy of your contract ready for them to look at. It’s free. 

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8 minutes ago, klingklang77 said:

 

Well, if they try to make it void you can go to a labor lawyer. There is something different about short term contracts with regards to that, though. I’m not a lawyer. 

 

I’ll give you my experience. 

 

I had a 2 year contract. When it was over I applied for ALG1 and got about 80% of my salary per month. My health insurance and Rentenversicherung was covered. GEZ was not. ALG2 only covers GEZ. 

 

That lasted for about a year. I think that’s all you need to know as I don’t want to make your head swim around with thoughts. 

 

What was the silly excuse? There is probably a Beratungsstelle in your city. Use them. The one in Munich has a lawyer once a week. You can probably do telephone appointments now. Have a copy of your contract ready for them to look at. It’s free. 

 Are you a German national? Because I am a non-EU national here in Germany on a work VISA.

 

The excuse was that I was visiting family in UK over the weekend, when they emailed about working from home starting Monday. I had flights booked for the following weekend from Berlin to UK for a hospital appointment. I decided, since I am asked to work from home, I can do so in UK and stay for a week to sort out my hospital appointment and then go to Berlin once, to minimise risk of too much travelling due to corona virus. I did not think it was necessary to inform them that I was out of country as I was expected top work from home anyway. My computer ran into issues and they found out that I was not in Berlin, they made a big deal out of it and made use my annual leave for my time in UK. I would have come back on Monday morning (had my flight booked) but as they asked to work from home, I decided to travel less and stay safe. 

 

 

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They say that I must return to Berlin to work from home, and that any time in UK will either be cut from annual leave or unpaid leave as I don't have a work visa in UK so I can not work in UK. To be honest, if I am writing a paper on my laptop somewhere in UK, I am not violating any laws in UK. I am employed by Germany, work for a German employer and paid in a German bank account. I do not see why they make a big deal out of this. I have a visit VISA in the UK.

I hope I can make it to Berlin tomorrow because flights are getting cancelled everyday and there is going to be a lockdown soon in both UK and Germany.

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50 minutes ago, zsyed said:

 Are you a German national? Because I am a non-EU national here in Germany on a work VISA.

 

The excuse was that I was visiting family in UK over the weekend, when they emailed about working from home starting Monday. I had flights booked for the following weekend from Berlin to UK for a hospital appointment. I decided, since I am asked to work from home, I can do so in UK and stay for a week to sort out my hospital appointment and then go to Berlin once, to minimise risk of too much travelling due to corona virus. I did not think it was necessary to inform them that I was out of country as I was expected top work from home anyway. My computer ran into issues and they found out that I was not in Berlin, they made a big deal out of it and made use my annual leave for my time in UK. I would have come back on Monday morning (had my flight booked) but as they asked to work from home, I decided to travel less and stay safe. 

 

 

 

 

I am not a citizen, but I have permanent residency and been here for over 10 years. 

 

I would suggest you talk to the Beratungsstelle. Also, I believe you are still under EU rights (you mentioned something about family in the UK) for now. 

 

Sorry, but that excuse probably isn’t enough. You went away for a weekend? I’m really confused by your situation. 

 

However, just to calm you down— this mess will take months to sort out. Paperwork will need to be filed. And don’t worry about health insurance being paid. It takes 6 months before TKK (or whatever plan you have) will even start sending the court marshall to your house. But you will be placed under “emergency health insurance” (emergency room service) if about more than 6 months goes by. You have time. 

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11 hours ago, zsyed said:

They say that I must return to Berlin to work from home, and that any time in UK will either be cut from annual leave or unpaid leave as I don't have a work visa in UK so I can not work in UK. To be honest, if I am writing a paper on my laptop somewhere in UK, I am not violating any laws in UK. I am employed by Germany, work for a German employer and paid in a German bank account. I do not see why they make a big deal out of this. I have a visit VISA in the UK.

I hope I can make it to Berlin tomorrow because flights are getting cancelled everyday and there is going to be a lockdown soon in both UK and Germany.

At my last job, they told me that even if I’m working from home, I need to be in Berlin because of insurance purposes. It seems as though if something were to happen to you outside of Berlin, the insurance wouldn’t cover it and things could get expensive. 
However, I have no proof of that. That’s simply what I was told. 

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I know that it is not helpful but what were you thinking when you left the country during this crisis?  

 

Anyway, you are in a tough situation, you can't work from another country for insurance reasons.  Depending which type of "Home Office" your company signed with you in your contract/tariff/whatever (Home Office, Mobile Office, etc), you are required to do it either in your residence or in the city/state/country your workplace is.

 

Take the offer to take unpaid leave as something positive because they could actually fire you for not showing up.

 

P.S. I am not a lawyer, so everything I said here could be wrong.

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18 hours ago, zsyed said:

  I did not think it was necessary to inform them that I was out of country as I was expected top work from home anyway. My computer ran into issues and they found out that I was not in Berlin

 

I don't see this as a "silly excuse" on their part - it is a valid reason.  Your work location is in Germany, so you had a duty to inform your employer that you are out of the country during your work hours.  It would be then up to them to determine if working remotely from the UK fit into the "work from home" expectation - it wasn't your choice to make.

 

Whether you meant to or not, you failed to fulfill your obligation, and deceived your employer.

 

I tend to agree with @Krieg - if they are giving you an opportunity to keep your work contract, you should at least discuss it with them to learn what sort of options they might be willing to offer.

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19 hours ago, zsyed said:

 

 

The excuse was that I was visiting family in UK over the weekend, when they emailed about working from home starting Monday. I had flights booked for the following weekend from Berlin to UK for a hospital appointment. I decided, since I am asked to work from home, I can do so in UK and stay for a week to sort out my hospital appointment and then go to Berlin once, to minimise risk of too much travelling due to corona virus. I did not think it was necessary to inform them that I was out of country as I was expected top work from home anyway. My computer ran into issues and they found out that I was not in Berlin, they made a big deal out of it and made use my annual leave for my time in UK. I would have come back on Monday morning (had my flight booked) but as they asked to work from home, I decided to travel less and stay safe. 

 

 

 

Ok I just reread this, and I don’t think their excuse is silly. You have to inform your employer of vacations, especially for health insurance purposes.

 

At one of my contract jobs that I had here, it was quite cushy. In between semesters you were able to work from home, but technically, you were supposed to be in the office. Some universities require that you come in during semester breaks, and some are lenient about it. 

 

Anyway, I told my boss I was going X country skiing during a break and asked her if I needed to file for vacation time (she was very lenient). She said in that case I would have to because if I fell and something happened, it would create an insurance mess. 

 

But again, I’m not a lawyer. 

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20 hours ago, zsyed said:

 I may take a 6 month unpaid leave during the corona virus crisis.

 

Why 6 months!?!!?!?

 

Quote

 I won't have money to pay rent or groceries, will I be eligible for any help from the government during these 6 months?

Do you really expect the German taxpayers to pay for your extended holiday in the UK?!?!?

 

19 hours ago, zsyed said:

 I can do so in UK and stay for a week to sort out my hospital appointment and then go to Berlin once, to minimise risk of too much travelling due to corona virus. I did not think it was necessary to inform them that I was out of country as I was expected top work from home anyway.

 

The best way to minimise the risk would have been to fly immediately back to the country where you are actually resident not extend your holiday abroad.

 

19 hours ago, zsyed said:

 I do not see why they make a big deal out of this

 

Because you are supposed to be working at home in GERMANY!

 

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I hope I can make it to Berlin tomorrow because flights are getting cancelled everyday and there is going to be a lockdown soon in both UK and Germany.

 

Which is why you should have come back sooner rather than later. What were you thinking? :wacko:

 

 

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19 hours ago, zsyed said:

They say that I must return to Berlin to work from home, and that any time in UK will either be cut from annual leave or unpaid leave as I don't have a work visa in UK so I can not work in UK.

 

that is absolutely correct and not silly at all.  Insurance may be a consideration in Germany but labor laws are an even bigger concern outside the country.

 

I had a couchsurfer/cat sitter who came over from the EU when I lived in the US.  She was a freelancer doing copy editing purely on a remote basis.  She was stuck in immigration at the airport for 6 hours over that because when they choose to question you one of the first questions is "what do you do for work" - no work permit in the US, you can't DO ANY WORK in the US no matter who is paying you.  Given her line of work, of course she was highly suspect even though I was not paying her to cat sit and she did not have any gigs during her stay.   If she had told them I was paying her to cat sit or that she would be working remotely while in the US, they would have sent her home. 

 

I was questioned similarly any time I entered Germany.  I was scared when I finally moved over as I had to tell them I was coming to live and work...but wasn't sure what would happen as I didn't have my work permit in hand yet.  It was ok but they were very thorough in their questioning.

 

Glad your employer is clued into this - it's no joke.

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Many thanks to all for replying. Just to clarify:

 

I have my family in the UK, it was not a vacation, I tend to visit them on occasional weekends. On this particular weekend, it became chaotic due to travel bans, lock downs and my hospital appointment coming up in the UK.

 

In the event that they had asked me to take unpaid leave when I returned to Berln, I would not have means to pay rent, groceries etc. In the event that I stayed in the UK and they asked me to take unpaid leave, I would not need to pay for rent and should have been ok.

 

Thanks to all for highlighting the issue of insurance and working rights in each country, that clears a lot of the confusion. I thought they wanted to reduce staff due to losses incurred after coronavirus.

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On 3/23/2020, 4:04:48, Santitas said:

At my last job, they told me that even if I’m working from home, I need to be in Berlin because of insurance purposes. It seems as though if something were to happen to you outside of Berlin, the insurance wouldn’t cover it and things could get expensive. 
However, I have no proof of that. That’s simply what I was told. 

 Seriously?

 

Many people live away from where they work.

 

Most people now can`t actually afford to live in Berlin.

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7 hours ago, zsyed said:

I thought they wanted to reduce staff due to losses incurred after coronavirus.

 

but if they did that, you would be eligible for unemployment benefits.  Likewise if they put you on furlough (which would be equivalent to your vision of then asking you to take unpaid leave even though you were available and able to work) you'd be covered under kurzarbeit benefits. 

 

Germany has strong labor laws and good support for the unemployed and this includes programs like kurzarbeit that is intended to keep people in their jobs when a company has run into unexpected, temporary financial trouble.  They can't just fire you or not pay you even if they don't require you to work.  But you'd have to be in Germany and prepared to work - I am not sure where you'd be standing if you were in the UK on unpaid leave at the time of being laid off or furloughed though.

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13 hours ago, RenegadeFurther said:

 Seriously?

 

Many people live away from where they work.

 

Most people now can`t actually afford to live in Berlin.

Right and the insurance would probably cover all that, but it would be difficult to argue that I live in Tahiti and commute to Berlin for work 😂

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18 hours ago, RenegadeFurther said:

 Seriously?

 

Many people live away from where they work.

 

Most people now can`t actually afford to live in Berlin.

 

You have to check what your contract says, in many cases if you are still in Germany it might not be a problem, outside of Germany it is a big issue. 

 

The problem is not health insurance as posted above, it is work accident insurance, which is very complicated and sometimes nonsense.  Even working at home there might be silly issues, i.e. you have an accident and you were on the way to the kitchen/bathroom vs on the way from the kitchen/bathroom.   

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5 hours ago, Santitas said:

Right and the insurance would probably cover all that, but it would be difficult to argue that I live in Tahiti and commute to Berlin for work 😂

 

The work accident insurance (which is the problem here) covers only accidents in which is defined as your working space and while traveling from your home to your workplace and back.

 

Edit: To the person might not be a big deal for small accidents that do not mean you have to stop working at all (cover is better with the work insurance), you will be cover anyway by the health insurance.  But they will recoup it from your employer most probably due to you working from an unauthorized place.  Very bad accidents would be a massive headache for everyone.

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