Forschungs- und Beratungsstelle für betriebliche Arbeitnehmerfragen

The works council and co-determination in social affairs (BR 3)

What rights and duties does a works council have in social affairs and how can it use them? How does German labor law deal with this area and what is important about it?
The seminar will give an introduction to the Works Constitution Act with special focus on social affairs. In the seminar we want to examine special aspects of co-determination with respect to section 87 WCA. We will discuss the area of negotiations and possibilities to reduce conflicts. The objective is to provide members of the works council with practical and theoretical knowledge for their day to day business.

The seminar will focus on the following subject matters:

• Introduction to the legal framework for social affairs and the corresponding sections of the WCA and other legislation
• Information rights and how to obtain relevant information
• Introduction to the area of social affairs sec. 87 onwards WCA
• Overview about co-determination in special aspects like time, operation and conduct within the establishment, holiday and leave arrangements, social services of the company, suggestion schemes and others
• Conduct of negotiations and conflict resolution
• Practical approach how to deal with social affairs

1. Labor relations and dealing with legal aspects
1.1 Labor relations and the norm pyramid
1.2 Benefit-of-the-doubt principle

2. Participation rights and duties of the works council
2.1 Information rights

3. Co-determination in social affairs (section 87 BetrVG)
3.1 Introduction to the sec.87 WCA
3.2 Options of the works council
3.3 Regulations based on sec.87 WCA
3.4 Examples of sec.87 WCA (holiday regulation, return conversations after
illness, Internet)

4. Conduct of negotiations and works agreements
4.1 Basics of negotiations
4.2 Works agreements and "Regelungsabreden" sec. 77 WCA
4.3 Conduct of negotiation

5. Conflict resolution and insights from mediation
5.1 How to deal with conflicts
5.2 Different approaches
5.3 Insights from mediation

6. Co-determination in occupational health and safety

7. Making sense out of co-determination in social affairs and how to deal practically and efficiently with this area.