The election committee is responsible for carrying out a works council election. If the election committee is appointed, to hold an election it needs both material and information regarding the (potential) employees who have the right to vote

From March 1, 2018 to May 31, 2018, the regular works council elections will take place all over Germany. The employer pays the costs for these elections. This also includes providing the election committee with the material necessary to hold the election. The election committee must examine whether and to what extent it may consider the provision of material to be necessary. The election committee does not have to examine the necessity solely on the basis of its subjective needs. It is much rather obliged to weigh up the interests of the workforce in the proper exercise of its office on the one hand, and the legitimate interests of the employer on the other. In doing so, the standards for the election committee that it may apply should be borne by itself or its members.

Depending on the circumstances of the individual case, the election committee requires, in particular, the employer to provide

  • a room with chairs and tables,
  • the possibility to print or make copies,
  • a sealable cabinet,
  • a computer/laptop with email and Internet access,
  • ballot boxes,
  • office materials,
  • the possibility to make announcements, and
  • a voting area.

The works council must keep in mind that it is only in office for a very limited time. This means that, as a rule, it is sufficient to temporarily offer the works council the equipment and rooms of the employer that are already available. The election committee may not consider it necessary for the employer to purchase printers, copiers, height-adjustable furniture or stamps for the election committee or to rent rooms. However, the election committee may also require the provision of material that is actually required as part of a temporary request from the employer.

The same applies to the provision of the information required for the election in addition to the necessary documents. These include in particular:

  • an overview of the employees (name, first name, sex, date of birth, duration of employment) as well as
  • information on (possible) senior employees.

The election committee may also request this information, together with necessary documents, from the employer by means of a temporary request. Such a request, however, is ruled out if the election committee is able to carry out the election (albeit in more difficult circumstances) without this information and documentation.

If the employer does not comply with the duty to provide the election committee with the materials and documents necessary, such inaction can be considered a legally punishable offense. However, the election must have been hampered in some way by the employer’s misconduct. Conversely, an election committee may illegally hinder an election if it delays the election even though it has all the necessary information and material resources available or if such information can otherwise be obtained without difficulty, for example through an employee survey.

By Tobias Grambow