A works council in a startup? An exception. It makes sense, because members can have a say in important things.
Are works councils prohibited in StartUps?
No. In principle, every employee has the right to form a works council. An impairment or prevention of works council work can even be punished with a fine , as this is punishable (§119 BetrVG). That is why the topic of founding a works council is so explosive and is frequently discussed.
What is a works council allowed to do?
The works council is committed to ensuring that the interests of employees vis-à-vis the employer are taken into account. For example, the works council is involved in the termination or hiring of new employees. Although he can only prevent hiring in special cases, the opinion of the works council is nevertheless important and must be taken into account.
The same applies to terminations. The works council can contradict, whereby the final power lies with the entrepreneur. The advantage of a works council is that the elected persons can stand up for the employee until the final decision is made. For example, the entrepreneur has to deal with the respective employee until the end of a legal action if there is an action against the termination.
The works council is the interface between entrepreneurs and employees. Therefore, both sides should keep the works council informed about the essentials of the operation, so that important issues can be addressed directly and openly – for example, when selling the company.
Where does the works council decide?
Important topics in which the works council can decide are, for example:
- Personnel measures
- Social affairs
- Economic affairs
- Questions of work safety
- working hours
- Social facilities
- compensation rules
The works council has a codetermination right whereby the entrepreneur may only introduce new measures if he / she has the full consent of the works council. Often, agreements between the works council and the employer, the so-called works agreement, also establish general rules that apply to all employees.
Why do you need a works council?
First and foremost, a works council should represent and enforce the interests of employees. In addition, an entrepreneur must regularly inform the elected stakeholders about new measures and changes. In addition, the management must involve the works council in important future topics. Thus, there are some decisions before a vote before certain processes can be set in motion.
If the contractor violates these agreements, the works council may call the arbitration board or institute legal proceedings.
Who is responsible for choosing the works council?
As a rule, all employees who have reached the age of 18 are actively eligible to vote. In the company in which a works council is to be established, at least five such employees entitled to vote must be employed.
It is important that three of the five employees have to be eligible (= passive right to vote). A person can be selected as soon as they work in a start-up for at least six months. If these requirements are fulfilled, you can call for a choice.
In companies with at least five employees, the election of a works council is required by law. However, there are often not enough employees willing to get involved in the works council. That is why many companies do not set up a works council.
How is the size of a works council defined?
The size of the works council is determined by the number of eligible employees of the company. If there are five to 20 employees who are entitled to vote, the works council consists of just one member. Three to five are in companies with 21 to 50 employees, with 51 to 100 employees then five members. From 101 to 200 employees, the works council consists of seven heads.