POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Staff Council

Staff councils are the elected representatives of operators and administrators in public services. The council represents all public employees and administrative officials on a national, state or  community level, where it is at most legally recognized as an institution, corporation or foundation. 

The number of participants in staff elections depends on the number of employees in the respective service. As a rule, membership rests on a voluntary basis and only the chairpersons are released from their work.

Legal basis for staff elections 
For staff elections, there is no unifrom legislation at national (federal) level, so public institutions are managed at state level. Staff committee laws regulate the powers, duties, rights and procedures of staff council election at a state level. National laws are merely used as frameworks. 

Distinction between staff councils and works councils
While a staff council represents the contribution and co-determination rights of public employees, works councils are representative bodies for employees in private companies. Thus the two are comparable: both representative bodies protect and promote the interests of the employees. While the Works Constitution Act sets out the functions of a works council at a national level, the staff council of a public authority is restricted by state sovereignty. 

See also: Council Elections, Council Members, Council Officers

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