Three must-knows about the 2020 Social Elections Act

The Act on the 2020 social elections ("2020 Social Elections Act") was published on 30 April 2019. It introduces various amendments in relation to the organisation of the social elections. We will comment here on three of these amendments: the granting of voting rights to certain interim workers, the relaxation of the rules on electronic voting, and measures regarding gender equality.

The social elections are concerned with the election, by the workers of a company, of their representatives on the works council (WC) and the committee for prevention and protection at work (CPPW) for the next four years. Below, we first present a brief overview of the principal amendments made by the 2020 Social Elections Act. We will then discuss in more detail the three topics mentioned above.

Certain interim workers within the user's organisation will be allowed to vote

Initially, the National Labour Council (NLC) had suggested that periods worked as an interim worker within the user's organisation should be counted towards the requirement of seniority in the company for voting eligibility purposes, in cases where such interim work was immediately followed by the worker entering into an employment agreement with the user (see Eubelius Spotlights March 2019). In the end, the legislator went a step further: The 2020 Social Elections Act allows interim workers who have been employed within the user's organisation for a certain length of time to participate in the social elections in the user's organisation in their capacity as interim workers. Some highly technical conditions have been established in this regard.

For the purposes of the procedure, these interim workers will be treated, in certain respects, as workers of the user. Thus, they will not only be allowed to vote, but also, for example, to lodge certain complaints and to instigate legal proceedings in certain situations.

Electronic voting from one's own workstation is now possible

The 2020 Social Elections Act has changed the rules on electronic voting in two respects.

The decision to proceed to electronic voting is made by the WC, the CPPW or, in the absence of such bodies, by the employer in agreement with the trade union delegation.

In addition, the WC, the CPPW or, in the absence thereof, the employer in agreement with the trade union delegation may allow electronic voting from the worker's usual workstation, subject to certain conditions.

New provisions concerning gender equality in social dialogue bodies

The employer is now required, after each social election, to provide the WC members with an overview of the ratio between female and male candidates on the final candidate lists, as well as the ratio between female and male elected representatives on the WC and the CPPW. These data must be shown in comparison with  the total number of female and male workers within the company. This overview must be provided and discussed within six months following the posting of the electoral results. Where there is no WC, the overview must be transmitted to the members of the trade union delegation.

The Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue will make a statistical analysis of these data per sector of activity, which will then be submitted to the NLC.

The Eubelius Social Elections Focus Team

The Eubelius Social Elections Focus Team is ready to help you through the 2020 social elections with legal advice, support with negotiations and assistance, as well as representation in court in the event of litigation. For the practical organisation of the 2020 social elections within your company, Eubelius has also renewed its collaboration with HR service provider Acerta.