Germany: Government agrees rules on quotas for women in the boardroom

The German government has passed the draft version of a new law on women’s representation in management.

From 2016 onwards, new rules will be brought in governing large joint stock companies or enterprises with more than 2,000 workers (private companies as well as publically owned companies). They will have to make sure at least 30% of people on their governing boards are women. If they fail to hit the target they could face sanctions, and be forced to leave the seat vacant until a female board member in nominated. 

The regulation applies to large companies covered by parity-based co-determination. The Co-determination Act, aims to ensure that management and workers are represented on the boards in equal numbers. In publically owned large companies the quota will be raised to 50% by 2018.

It’s thought the new rules will affect about 100 listed companies with employee representatives on non-executive supervisory boards. Another 3,500 firms will in future have to publish gender-equality targets.

The same holds for public administration. The administrative units shall set targets for reaching equal shares of women or men at all levels.

The Act was planned as part of the country’s coalition agreement in 2012. It was drafted by country’s Federal Minister for Justice and the Federal Minister on Family Affairs, both Social Democrats. By and large, the Christian Democrats are in support of the Act, but they also say they want to ‘reduce the bureaucratic burdens’ for companies

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