The responsibilities and rights of the staff council are laid out in the Thuringian Employee Representation Act (ThürPersVG), which was amended in January 2019. Important changes are to be found on the GEW homepage, and a document of the Act was released to the public. The participation of the staff council is addressed specifically in Section 8 of the Act (covering § 66 to § 82 a). There is no English translation available at this time. In § 68, the general responsibilities of the staff council are described, which also includes:
the taking in of suggestions and complaints made by employees, and if they appear justified, to then follow through with negotiations with the designated administration (head of department / faculty).
the integration/participation of foreign employees at the workplace, in addition to promoting the understanding between them and the German employees
These responsibilities are based on the legal principles outlined in the following policies/laws:
Thuringian law related to personnel representation
Thuringian university laws
Occupational safety laws
Working hours laws
Thuringian data protection laws
Part-time and fixed-term employment laws
Affirmative action and other relevant laws
The Staff Representation Act gives the council a number of participatory rights (§§ 68, 69). The council exercises these rights in close collaboration with the head of the University management. This Act distinguishes between matters of co-determination and matters of consultation.
Unrestricted Rights to Co-Determination
Co-determination in Germany defines a set of rights that give employees the possibility of actively participating in the shaping of their working environment. This includes legally stipulated co-determination rights, labor agreements devised in conjunction with collective agreements, as well as informal possibilities that have arisen from co-determination practice. Issues related to the right to co-determination inlude, among others, the following:
Termination (except for extraordinary dismissal during the probationary period)
Raising or lower the pay scale classification, questions related to wage structure (determined for the most part by labor contracts)
Refusal to approve secondary employment
Finalizing and altering employment agreements
Duration, start and end of daily working hours including breaks, as well as the scheduling of work days during the week
Assigning extra work and overtime
Implementing professional training and continuing education
Organizational charts and their alteration
Supervising workplace rules and employee conduct
Policies for preventing service- and workplace accidents and other health risks
Establishment, administration, and dissolution of social services
Right to Participation
The administration is required to discuss in detail specific policies, prior to their implementation, with the goal of reaching a timely accommodation, to consider objections made by the staff council seriously, and to explain decisions made over the staff council’s objections. Examples for this procedure include, among others, the following:
The drafting of administrative directives
The reorganization of administrative responsibilities
Failure to adequately include the participation of the staff council will result in the non-implementation of the proposed policies.
Right to be Informed
The administration shall inform the staff council concerning specific circumstances such as, among others, the following:
Accident reports, accident investigation records
Conversations between department heads and security officers
Additional rights to information can be developed on the basis of good-faith cooperation, if they are required for proper administration and the representation of the respective parties’ interests.
Right to Consultation
The staff council has the right to issue a substantive statement regarding certain policies to the administration and to expect due consideration of its statement. As a rule, consultations will be made in relation to the following:
Budgetary planning (employment positions included within the budget)
Changes to work procedures
The right to consultation does not depend on whether the policies will impact the employee’s work requirements or the type of work they perform.
Consultation of Employees
The responsibilities of the staff council also include consulting with university employees. The staff council is ready to schedule personal appointments to consult with and receive grievances from employees.