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Workday® and Works Councils

A Works Council by any other name (aka Betriebsrat/ Comitato Aziendale/ Comité de Empresa) would smell as sweet .

Wait a minute. That is not exactly right, but you get the picture.

As a current or potential Workday® client with multinational companies, subsidiaries, or workers in the European Union (EU), you should become familiar with the basics about configuring WD for Works Councils.

What is a Works Council?

If your firm is solely based in the United States, an apt analogy for a Works Council (WC) is a Labor Union. EU legal requirements say that organizations, with as little as 5 EU workers, must have a WC. This is the law but may be a rarity. Usually organizations with ~1000 EU workers will have a WC. The WC members are elected from non-management population for 4-year terms and act as representatives for the workers subject to a WC. A Works Council has oversight for employees' needs, including economic, health and organizational affairs. They also have input in employee hiring and termination. There’s a plethora of information on WCs makeup, history, and legal concerns. The works council has a major say in compensation, employment terms and conditions, promotions and transfers, work methods, worker data privacy and monitoring, outsourcing, reorganization and downsizing. Here’s the Wikipedia® encyclopedia entry for Works Council.

A statute in Germany, for example, is the ‘Works Council Constitution Act’. This legislation provides co-determination rights, which concern personnel, social and economic matters for workers. Similar laws are in place with other EU countries. Dutch Civil Law provides WCs quite a broad scope of approval. Article 27 of the legislation spans WC approvals on regulations such as pay, worker appraisals, sick leave, and personal information. A recent lawsuit in the GDR is considering whether an employer needs to abide by WC codetermination in using Twitter®. It will be interesting to see if the Workday Assistant® could eventually be a governance issue for WCs.

SaaS clients and Works Councils

For Risk Mitigation, when software as a service (SaaS) or hosted solutions is a considered option, it will be critical to involve the Works Council and the Data Protection Officer (DPO) early in the process, and with transparency. A vendor should give clients clear guidance on how its system will comply with data protection laws. Processing that takes place outside the EU gets more scrutiny than in the EU. You can process personal data outside Germany or the EU, but there are hurdles. If the proposed vendor has an inadequate approach to address the German concerns, then similar issues will arise in France or Austria.

Works Councils and GDPR

Workday® provides a great deal of information related to GDPR in the EU. A prior Rising presentation is a helpful resource explaining GDPR. Works Councils do and will register complaints on several areas of handling EU worker data. These include visibility, custom reports, security (who can see worker data), purging data, and auditing. More information on Workday® privacy is here. A future blog will provide more detail for Workday® and GDPR.

Workday® Configuration Topics

  1. Business Processes - Configuration of BPs such as Recruiting or Onboarding, ESS tasks, and BP Security Policies is necessary for GDPR compliance and may fall under a Works Council purview. A delivered intersection point is available for use with Works Councils for appropriate staffing events (transfers, termination, job change, and so on). Anytime Feedback can be configured by adding an approval step for the recipient to consent to adding this to their record, here’s a related Community post. The Change Job BP might also need security adjustments for approvals. Here’s the security setup how-to for Change Job.

  2. Proxy - Choosing which user populations can be used for proxy testing is relevant. This one is helpful if you have certain restricted groups, such as a European Works Council heavy country that should be excluded. As well, you might want to only enable a certain sub-population if you're just rolling out a piece of functionality to a certain population.

  3. Security – Workday® enabled a user role for recruiting agencies that are heavily used outside of North America and may include a Works Council approval. Also, the WC assignable role is delivered and assignable for location hierarchies (Use the Maintain Assignable Roles report). The overview of Organization Reports site is helpful. The accompanying Role-Based security group, Works Council, would perform works council liaison functions for Germany, Austria, and other countries that require it. This would provide approval authority for demote and terminate business processes, for example. Other considerations for WCs: Manager visibility restriction to no more than 2 levels down in an org hierarchy (Example conditional role-based security group), report sharing and download restrictions, and authentication security policies. Email notifications may need tenant setup to Not send anything to home email addresses unless with the WC approves. Got to Edit Tenant Setup -Security, then find Security Email Settings. Another resource is an email FAQ site. See the Security Administration Group in Community for general best practices for 2020.

  4. Custom Reports - Custom reports may be required for audits and could include elements like assignable roles, what data can the roles view and/or edit, and who holds those roles. A contributed solution for constructing related reports is here on Community, and can be modified for WC audit requests. The Audit Trail - Security® report can be customized to restrict comp data if using an unconstrained group for WC access. Use caution in exposing data sources for custom reports. If using a custom report within an EIB, the Create Security Proxy is a useful tool. Here’s a brainstorm for granting access to ONLY the results of a report.

  5. Custom Organizations – Creating custom orgs can be useful in parsing populations subject to Works Councils. For example, an organization might include a sub-population where some workers are subject to WCs and some who are not. WC elected members are a separate entity from workers who are subject to a WC. Workers subject to a WC are often defined by Management Levels.

  6. Enabling Functionality – Skills Cloud® adoption might be a sticking point for Works Councils because it is a conglomeration of contributed client data. A WC may object to seeing something like “Dog Muzzle” or “Cowculator” (real skills?...not a typo!) in the Skills Cloud®. Talent Management and sharing Succession Profiles may arise as issues if not included in a WC agreement. Here’s a great presentation on machine learning and the Skills Cloud®. The Skills Cloud® main site is here.

  7. Purging Data Policies – A WC might have oversight in the Time Tracking data retention policy for active workers. The recent 2020 R1® release provided updates to available purgeable fields. Performance or Development Reviews past a certain date for active workers could also be considered. Purging selective data while retaining other data has been a topic of late which may need to be addressed. A recent Community brainstorm addresses purging worker dependents data and WCs.

Helpful Workday® links:

Contact us for more information or support if you would like some help in standing up/testing this oft overlooked feature set from Workday®. Contact us at :


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