Germany’s boardrooms should become more family-friendly. In the future, female board members should be able to exercise their board mandate even after a baby break. Men can take parental leave. Women and men can also take time off to look after relatives or in the event of illness. This emerges from a proposed amendment to a bill that NewsABC.net has received. This is currently being coordinated by departments.
The paper says: “If a member of a board of directors who consists of several people can temporarily not fulfill his duties associated with the appointment due to maternity leave, parental leave, caring for a family member or illness, the supervisory board can revoke the appointment.” to assure the supervisory board that it will be reappointed within one year. That means: If a board member is dismissed, he has the guaranteed right to return to the old position.
The decisive factor here is that the board member is completely exempt from all obligations and liability risks, as the paper says. So far, board members who let their board mandate rest – for example because of the birth of a child – have been liable. It also says: Furthermore, the board member has “the security of being reappointed, because this revocation of the appointment is connected with the assurance of a later reappointment.” A remuneration for this time is also possible, provided that this is contractually stipulated. As soon as a board member lets his mandate rest, this must be announced in the commercial register.
However, there is explicitly no legal right to a temporary resignation from the mandate. This would be “incompatible with the function of an independent and entrepreneurial board member”, it says. In addition, the company’s supervisory board can refuse to suspend the executive board mandate. In this case, however, this must be justified in writing.
Also interesting: For the duration of the member’s dismissal, the company is exempt from the obligation to meet a quota for women on the board.
Bundestag is to discuss the law in March
The Delia Lachance case provided the impetus for the change in the law. Lachance was a board member of the publicly traded e-commerce company Westwing. At the beginning of March 2020, she started her maternity leave and six-month parental leave. Lachance was forced to resign as a board member. Several prominent women entrepreneurs, managers and politicians then pushed for a change in the law.
According to information from NewsABC.net, it is planned that the project will be discussed on March 1 in the Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection of the Bundestag.