Made in Germany & Switzerland
The flag of GermanyThe flag of Switzerland
jacando logo
Back to the HR-Lexicon

Employer's duty of care

The employer's duty to act in a caring manner is an important part of employment law in Germany and Switzerland. Employers are obliged to protect and promote the health, well-being and safety of their employees. Various aspects are part of this obligation, including ensuring a safe working environment, complying with working time regulations and break arrangements, and preventing discrimination and bullying in the workplace.

Safety in the workplace

Employers are obliged to ensure safety in the workplace, which is a central part of their duty of care. This includes identifying potential sources of danger, carrying out risk assessments and implementing measures to minimize risks. In addition, employers must ensure that employees have appropriate work clothing and personal protective equipment. Employers must provide first aid in the event of accidents at work or damage to health and organize medical assistance if necessary.

Health promotion

Employers are obliged to take measures to promote the health of employees. These include the organization of health days, the provision of ergonomic workstations and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Employees should be informed by their employers about health hazards in the workplace and receive support in preventing occupational diseases. It is becoming increasingly important to promote the mental health of employees.

Working time arrangements and work-life balance

It is important that employers consider appropriate working time arrangements and the promotion of a healthy work-life balance in order to fulfill their duty of care. This includes complying with statutory working time regulations, limiting overtime and allowing flexible working hours. Employers can also help to reconcile work and family life by implementing home office arrangements or company childcare.

Legal foundations and consequences

The employer's duty of care is enshrined in various laws and regulations, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act in Germany or the Labor Act in Switzerland. There may be legal consequences, such as fines, claims for damages or even criminal prosecution, if these obligations are breached. Employees also have the right to claim damages if the duty of care is breached. It is therefore important for everyone involved that employers fulfill their duty of care conscientiously.