On 28 November,
the European Commission included COVID-19 in the Recommendation (EU) 2022/2337
on the European schedule of occupational diseases. With this, the European
Commission recommends that the Member States recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease in the health, social and home
care sectors, as well as in sectors with a proven increased risk of infection. In addition, COVID-19 is to
be recognised as an occupational disease in the context of a pandemic situation
if an outbreak is recorded in a particular sector or there is a proven risk of
infection in further fields of activity.
Recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease
COVID-19 has been causing significant disruption to operations
in all occupational fields since the beginning of 2020. The health and safety
of workers continues to be affected by COVID-19 across the European Union.
Certain occupational groups are exposed to an increased risk of infection, for
example because they are in direct contact with infected persons in the course
of their work. Thus, recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease would
give affected occupational groups the opportunity to exercise corresponding
rights, such as claims for compensation.
Germany: COVID-19 as an occupational disease
of occupational diseases is the responsibility of the Member States. The
European Schedule of Occupational Diseases is therefore only a recommendation
for the Member States and is not legally binding. Germany and many other Member
States, such as France and Spain, have already recognised COVID-19 as an
occupational disease under certain conditions. Nevertheless, the
updating of the European Schedule of Occupational Diseases, which has been in
existence since 1990 and was last updated in 2003, by the Recommendation (EU) 2022/2337 of the European Commission is an important step to promote the
Europe-wide recognition and compensation of COVID-19 as an occupational
As early as May, the representatives of the EU Member States, workers
and employers in the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) had
agreed on COVID-19 being recognised as an occupational disease in certain
occupational fields (see DSV-News 5/2022). They advocated supporting an appropriate update of the EU
schedule of occupational diseases. Nicolas Schmit, EU Commissioner for Jobs and
Social Rights, spoke at the time of a "strong political signal to
recognise the impact of COVID-19 on workers."