Participation right means that employees also discuss and exercise influence on the policy proposals or the policy of the employer. These employees together form a Works Council or an employee representative body. The position of the participation right is regulated by the Works Councils Act. Asselbergs & Klinkhamer Advocaten has a wealth of experience in co-determination law and the Works Councils Act.
According to the Works Councils Act, companies and institutions with fifty or more employees are obliged to have a Works Council. A Works Council can also be obligatory for a company with less than fifty employees by reason of the collective labour agreements. The Works Council has various rights and facilities in accordance with the law. In some cases, the employer must consult with the Works Council, provide information, request advice in a timely manner about proposed decisions and consult about the social policy. The employer on its part will acquire all important information from the workplace and can include this in the decisions he or she will take. In addition, the participation right can increase the involvement of employees in the company.
Employee representative body
Employee representative bodies are obligatory for small companies with more than 10 but less than 50 employees when there is no Works Council. Employee representative bodies also have various rights and facilities, but these are more restricted than the rights and facilities of a Works Councils. There is an obligation of biannual consultation when issues which concern the company are discussed and employees can personally put forward subjects for discussion. At least once a year the general course of affairs of the company must be discussed. In addition, the employer must request advice from the employee representative body about every proposed decision which could cause the loss of jobs, an important change of work, terms and conditions of employment (unless this is arranged in the collective labour agreement) and working conditions. This advice must be requested at such a time that it can have an actual effect on the decision to be made.
The problem with participation right is often that the employee as well as the employer does not know exactly how to deal with this. Therefore the Works Council is also not aware of its powers, and directors often have too little knowledge of the law to exercise the proper participation rights. Finally, not every employee finds it easy to express his or her opinion or to ask questions.
The Employment Law department of Asselbergs & Klinkhamer Advocaten provides legal assistance in the field of co-determination law. If required, our lawyers can advise you about the setting up of a Works Council or employee representative body and about how to deal with participation right.