Works council elections 2022 in Germany – Election boards get to work


We are currently receiving an increasing number of questions about data protection and works councils.

This has become a familiar phenomenon for us and indicates that in a few months we will once again be facing works council elections in Germany.  On this occasion, we would like to provide you with one or two pieces of information that may be of interest to you.

First, the human resources department provides the election board with a voter list. This must include, among other things, date of birth and gender.  If you are wondering why a distinction between gender is made: The gender that is in the minority in the company is entitled to a certain number of minimum seats on the works council.

The list must also be posted or displayed in the company according to German law (but only with the year of birth, not the complete date of birthday).

The election board uses this list to prepare the election documents and distributes these to the employees.  Sometimes the election board is not able to reach some employees directly in the company, e.g. because they’re working from home, on parental leave or are sick for a long period of time.  Of course, these employees also have the right to vote and they should not be made to actively take care of their voting documents themselves. How to handle this in accordance with data minimisation:

  • The election board prepares election documents in envelopes.
  • They give these envelopes to the HR department.
  • The HR department addresses these and sends them to the colleagues via mail.

Of course, the HR department is not the works council’s mailroom … But this way, employees’ private addresses do not have to exchange hands. Therefore, we favour this solution from a data protection point of view.

By the way, more information about transferring data to the works council (and their obligations in dealing with it) are in our practical guide. As our client you can find this in our customer area on our website. Or just get in touch.

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