Kanzlei fuer Arbeitsrecht Schweier
Participation rights of the works council

The works council has extensive participation rights in numerous important matters.

The Works Council Constitution Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz) and the Election Regulations (Wahlordnung) provide for provisions on the procedure of the election of a works council. If the employees have elected a works council, the works council has Participation Rights (of different intensity), in particular in personnel, social and economic matters.

Important rights are e.g.:

Personnel: Information about personnel planning, co-determination with regard to the establishment of general appraisal principles and the organization and implementation of vocational training in the establishment, prior consent to recruitments, grouping and redeployment of employees as well as to transfer and assignments of different jobs, hearing prior to dismissals
Social: Co-determination with regard to questions on the order in the business, the instruction of overtime and short-time work, establishment and use of technical equipment, which is destined to control the conduct / performance of the employees, questions on the pay structure, fixing of job and premium rates
Economic: Participation rights of the works council with regard to envisioned changes in operations, e.g. shut-down or relocation of a business or parts thereof; in this case, the works council must be informed in a timely manner; the employer must consult with the works council and try to agree on a reconciliation of interests (Interessenausgleich) prior to starting with the implementation of the change in operations. The reconciliation of interests provides for regulations on if, how and when the change in operations will take place. Finally, the employer and the works council must generally also agree on a social plan (Sozialplan). This plan provides for measures of compensating or mitigating the economic prejudice that affects the employees due to the change in operations (e.g. severance pays for the laid-off employees).
Structure of a company from a works council constitution perspective

Moreover, a series of questions on the structure of a company or a group of companies can arise:
  • How are individual sites of a company to be assessed from a works council constitution perspective?
  • Are works councils obligated to establish a general works council?
  • Can even a central works council of affiliated companies be established?