Will I still be paid if my boss doesn’t have any work for me? Do I have to go on a business trip to Berlin? Which food should I buy as a precautionary measure? Here are ten answers to typical questions about the Coronavirus.

My boss says that there is no more work for me, that’s why he cannot pay me anymore. Is he allowed to do that?

The answer is: no. As an employer, your boss bears the economic risk. They have to continue to pay you, even if they cannot make use of your output.

I’m my own boss and I’m currently unemployed. Who can help me?

The Federal Government plans an aid package of more than 50 billion euros in total for self-employed and small businesses. However, it is still unclear what the financial support will look like. Besides loans it should include direct grants that don’t have to be paid back.

The schools are closed and my employer wants me to come to work. Can I insist on staying at home?

Yes, that is possible. Two paragraphs are decisive in this context: if there is no other care for the children, employees can stay at home to take care of their children (paragraph 616 of the German civil code, BGB). The employee will be continued to be paid in the case of a “relatively not significant period of time”.
If it is unclear for how long the daycare or the school will be closed, every married employee is entitled to stay home for ten days per child per year. Single parents are allowed to stay home with their children for 20 days. The salary will continue to be paid in this period of time (paragraph 45 5th book of the German code of social law, SGB).

The supermarket shelves are empty because other people are hoarding. What do I really need?

Experts of the German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance recommend which food supplies you should have at home. These recommendations are not only applicable for the coronavirus, but for emergencies of all kinds. In general, it is recommended to keep food and beverages for ten days in stock. You should consider that you could be deprived of tap water or electricity.

My boss still wants me to go on business trips within Germany. Do I have to go?

Yes, unfortunately! However, your boss is not allowed to send you to the areas for which the Foreign Office has issued a travel warning. There is no area of risk within Germany yet, thus you have to follow the order (employer’s authority to give directions, § 106 of the German Industrial Code). Theoretically, your boss would even be allowed to send you to areas that are particularly affected, like the rural district of Heinsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia.

I cough and I have a fever. What should I do?

Have you ever tried a virtual consultation? Now is the time to try it. In a virtual consultation, you communicate with a doctor via telephone or video call. Ask your general practitioner if he or she offers virtual consultation hours. You can also call the Helios Corona-Hotline, where virtual consultations can be arranged if required.

I have an important surgery tomorrow. Will it take place?

Yes. Important surgeries still take place. Helios, the biggest private clinic group told the news magazine DER SPIEGEL that all interventions that cannot be postponed will be carried out as usual. Most of the other clinics do the same.

Flights in July and August are very cheap right now. Does is make sense to book a flight now?

No. Nobody knows when the Corona crisis will be over and if you will possibly lose money. It is a fact that airlines don’t have to reimburse ticket prices if the flight has been cancelled because of the coronavirus. This is a force majeur event, such as an earthquake, a hurricane or a fire. The airline operator is not able to foresee such events and is therefore not obliged to reimburse the ticket price.

I would like to follow the number of infected people in the different countries in real time.

Researchers of the University in Baltimore (Maryland, USA) created a live map which portrays the spread of the coronavirus. This live map uses data from the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as from responsible authorities in the USA, China and Europe.

What will life in Germany in 2021 be like?

Let’s hope it won’t be like in China right now. In China, surveillance has increased further due to the Corona-crisis. According to a correspondent of the business journal HANDELSBLATT, you are only allowed to participate in public life if the “health traffic-light” on your smartphone is green. The virus is dangerous and can require extreme measures such as quarantine. When the infection has subsided, there has to be a way back into free society.