Germany's labor minister is backtracking from a new rule stipulating that old-fashioned jump-on, jump-off elevators can only be used by trained personnel, a restriction that was met with media mockery.

The rule came into effect on Monday, effectively barring visitors from riding the so-called paternoster elevators that survive in some German public buildings.

The Labor Ministry has cited serious accidents involving them in the past and has said regional authorities called for restrictions. Still, the rule drew criticism, with the mass-circulation Bild daily arguing that civil servants would be better employed "with serious things — for example cutting senseless bureaucracy."

Labor Minister Andrea Nahles said on her ministry's Facebook page that German state governments will now be empowered to lift the restrictions if they want.