Seasonal work in the coronavirus pandemic

Harvests in Germany Seasonal work in the coronavirus pandemic

In the 2022 season, the Federal Government will again take numerous measures to ensure a successful and safe harvest. Protecting the health of the workforce during the pandemic has top priority. Seasonal workers from abroad can be vaccinated free of charge in Germany.

Harvest workers harvesting pears in a field.

Seasonal workers will again support the harvest in Germany for the 2022 season.

Photo: imago images/Rainer Unkel

Translations a​​​​​​vailable in different languages:
Zbiory w Niemczech Polish
Прибиране на реколта в Германия Bulgarian
Strângerea recoltei în Germania  Romanian
Збирання врожаю у Німеччині Ukrainian
Récoltes en Allemagne French  

In order to ensure a successful harvest season during the coronavirus pandemic again this year, high standards of health and safety protection will apply to seasonal workers when they enter the country, at their places of work and in farm accommodation. For this reason, the Federal Government adopted measures at an early stage and provided people concerned with the necessary information.  

Entry and vaccinations

“3G Rules” apply to all persons arriving in Germany: all incoming persons must be vaccinated or provide evidence that they have recovered from or been tested negative for Covid-19 through a PCR or LFT test. The  Robert Koch Institute does not currently list any areas as high risk or virus variant areas. There is therefore no requirement to quarantine on entering the country.

Wherever possible, seasonal workers should take advantage of free vaccinations available in their country of origin. Even after entering Germany, however, seasonal workers can obtain a vaccination free of charge. Employers are required to inform workers of opportunities to be vaccinated and allow them to get vaccinated during working hours. 

Coronavirus regulations in the workplace

All businesses are required to implement interim basic protection measures against infection at work until 25 May 2022 inclusive. Employers are still required to conduct risk assessments to identify and implement infection prevention measures at work as part of their workplace hygiene plans, and to update these measures where necessary. 

The tried-and-tested basic protection measures are still: maintaining a minimum distance of 1.5 metres, contact restrictions, wearing masks and providing testing. 

Information for seasonal workers: The Office for the Equal Treatment of EU Workers at the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) have jointly compiled a list of  the key current coronavirus regulations that apply when entering Germany and in the workplace. This also includes information on vaccination availability in Germany. You can access this information in Romanian, Polish, Bulgarian and German

Ensuring infection control in the workplace

Basic protection measures are no longer directly prescribed by the SARS-CoV-2-Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. They are now to be stipulated by businesses in their workplace hygiene plans on the basis of risk assessments. Businesses must take into account local rates of infection and activity-specific infection risks such as conditions in the physical environment.

Workplace hygiene plans must be made accessible to employees in a suitable way. The  SARS-CoV-2-Occupational Safety Rules provide guidance to employers so they can be confident about choosing and implementing suitable measures. When applying these rules, businesses can be sure they are fulfilling the respective minimum legal requirements.

In order to ensure a high level of health protection for employees during the pandemic, regulations and measures are adapted on an ongoing basis. Regulations imposed by the Länder are not required to follow Federal guidelines. For this reason, farmers should therefore regularly check the applicable regulations on infection control and implement modified measures on their farms. The Länder Committee for Occupational Safety and Safety Technology provides an online overview of the Länder regulations. 

Information for employers: Employers can access  practical aids, a web app and videos provided by the Social Insurance for Agriculture, Forestry and Horticulture (SVLFG). The BMEL has also compiled a summary of the legal and regulatory conditions for seasonal employment which are likewise available in different languages.