Gender quota in boardrooms from 2016

At the beginning of this month, German lawmakers passed a law requiring companies to give 30 per cent of seats on a supervisory board to women as of next year. It is intended to increase this quota to 50% from 2018 onwards. The new rules apply to listed companies with a co-determined supervisory board, ie where shareholder and employee representatives make up the supervisory board. About 100 of Germany’s biggest listed companies will be directly affected by this when filling seats on the supervisory board from next year. In the event of non-compliance, the election will be null and void. If a vacancy arises and a company has not met the quota requirement, either a woman will have to be appointed or the seat will have to be left empty.

Companies that are listed and/or co-determined at the supervisory board level will be obliged to set targets in order to increase the ratio of females in supervisory boards, executive boards and at high management levels. It is estimated that 3,500 companies will be affected by this new rule. These companies are also required to publicly report about the set targets and whether or not they have achieved their goals. A minimum target has not been set. However, if the female ratio at management level is below 30%, the target may not be set below the status quo. The time period allotted in order to reach the goal may not be longer than until 30 June 2017.

We will keep you posted on any new developments.