The electoral regulations reform follows the Works Council Modernization Act.

 Minor changes, but little innovation.

The electoral regulations reform follows the Works Council Modernization Act.

The Works Council Modernization Act (BReModG) from June 2021 included amendments to the electoral procedures for works council elections and tentative steps towards digitalization. These changes have now also been integrated into the electoral regulations, together with further amendments.

The BReModG now creates the option of holding virtual and hybrid works council meetings. They are intended to serve as an exception to attendance events and have to be regulated in the works council’s rules of procedure. The new electoral regulations enables the election committee to meet and make decisions via video/telephone conference. This does not require rules of procedure. However, the attendance events should also remain the norm here.

The election committee must announce an important change

The works council election can be contested on the grounds of mistakes in the electoral roll if an objection regarding the accuracy of the electoral roll had previously been raised in accordance with proper procedure. In future, the election committee must announce this important aspect in its election notice. Furthermore, ability to correct the electoral roll has been extended. Review and correction remain possible even on the election day up until the completion of voting.

Federal Labor Court decision regarding the deadline included

The Federal Labor Court recently clarified the submission of proposal lists for works council elections. The election committee may specify a time on the final day of the two-week period by which the proposal lists must have been received. This time may not be set before the end of the working hours of the majority of the employees at the company. If the election committee does not exercise this right in a legally binding manner, then the eligible voters are entitled to trust that the submission of election proposals is permissible up until midnight. For further information, see our article Contesting the works council election: When have nominations been cast on time?

This clarification will now be implemented and expanded in the electoral regulations. They will also include the deadline for objections regarding the correctness of the voter list, the correction of invalid election proposals and the subsequent deadline for the submission of election proposals if no valid election proposals had previously been submitted.

What is the correct way to fold ballots?

The environment will definitely benefit from the fact that ballots will be cast without a voting envelope in future. However, eligible voters have to fold the ballot in such a way that their vote is not identifiable.

As with the BReMdG, the changes to the electoral procedure can hardly be classified as innovative or forward-looking. Digitalization is apparently a red rag in works constitution law. As a consequence, digital voting in particular largely remains impossible. The election committee should primarily meet in person and only via telephone or video conference as an exception. Yet the Corona pandemic, in particular, has just demonstrated how much time, money and effort virtual meetings can save. The lawmaker remains apprehensive about approaching the issue when it comes to works councilors.