What trainings are necessary for new Works Council members?

22. June 2023
  • Labour Law

You are a newly elected member of a German “Betriebsrat” and you have no clue what rights and duties you have? Basic trainings in German Works Constitution Law (Betriebsverfassungsrecht) can help. These basic seminars are free for you as works council members, because by law the company has to pay for the trainings.

By Rupay Dahm, specialist lawyer for labour law, Berlin

These are the most important standard seminars that are helpful for new Works Council members:

Betriebsverfassungsrecht 1 / Works Constitution Law Part 1

In this seminar you will learn all the basic rules and formalities about how a works council functions. Do I get paid for works council work? Does the company have to provide me with a phone, laptop, literature and perhaps even a translator? What is the role of the works council’s chair (Betriebsratsvorsitzender)? How do we properly summon a meeting? How do we get the information we need from our employer? How do we pass resolutions, and how do we enforce them if the management is refusing to cooperate with us?

The topics of this seminar include:

  • General tasks of the works council and its members
  • Time off work of council members for their works council work
  • Right to training of works council members
  • Cooperation with JAV, SBV and trade unions
  • Tasks and powers of the chairperson
  • Ensuring correct formalities at meetings and when passing resolutions
  • Costs and expenses of works council work
  • Conducting staff meetings
  • How the conciliation board and proceedings before the labour court work

Betriebsverfassungsrecht 2/ Works Constitution Law Part 2

While the first seminar is more about the overall procedures of your work as WoCo, the second seminar delves into your actual rights to co-determination. On what topics can you as a works council actually change something? This seminar deals with your co-determination rights on personnel and social matters.

No dismissal, no recruitment, no transfer or grouping is permitted without the involvement of the works council! Co-determination in 'personnel matters' may sound matter-of-fact, but it is often highly emotionally charged for those involved. When it comes to hiring, transferring, grouping or dismissing, decisions are made that may have a lasting impact on the biography of the individual employee.

In “social matters” you as the works council can not only react but can also take the initiative and enforce company agreements on behalf of your colleagues in important areas, such as

  • regulations on working time, overhours, etc.
  • the holiday schedule,
  • health and safety regulation (including stress reduction, working atmosphere, mobbing prevention etc.)
  • agile work / group work / holacracy /scrum and the rules and implication (e.g. group pressure, risk of self-exploitation and burn-out) connected to that
  • mobile work, home office or shared desk (and the implicated health risks)
  • data protection (e.g. installation of Office 365 or SAP in your company)
  • or wage systems, bonus payments etc.

We offer all seminars for works councils in German, English or bilingually in Berlin or elsewhere. In addition to the basic seminars mentioned above, we offer trainings in individual labour law (individuelles Arbeitsrecht), data protection, health and safety, mobbing prevention, or any other topic of your interest as well as trainings for youth councils (Jugend- und Auszubildendenvertretung – JAV) and for electoral committees. Simply drop us a message!