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Employee financial participation in SMEs

bild_190_de ©Gyula Kocsis

Employee financial participation in small and medium enterprises - A strategy for labour market policy and regional business development

(Flyer DE/EN/PL/FR)



The aim of the project is the implementation of best practices of employee financial participation in SMEs, which connect labour market policy and regional business development. This transfer process should be horizontal (among the social partners) as well as vertical (between social partners and political decision makers). In this way recommendations, both for social partners as well as at the policy level can be developed.

Focal point is the design of a concept that enables employees to become co-owners as shareholders of their company. This concept refers to the legal form of a German GmbH, a Spanish limitada or a Polish Sp.z o.o. Such entities of employee owned companies already exist in Poland and Spain, namely the mentioned Spółki Pracownicze and Sociedades Laborales.

Both types of employee (co-)owned enterprises are prevalent among SMEs but they take different approaches:
• The average Sociedad Laboral is a small/micro enterprise (average size of 4 employees) while the Spółki Pracownicze are mainly medium sized corporations (average size of 150 employees).
• Sociedades Laborales are referred to as part of the social economy and do thus relate to other actions regarding the promotion of employment.
• The Spółki Pracownicze emerged from a specific privatisation method as the government was searching for private successors for formerly state-owned enterprises at the beginning of the nineties.ChallengeCurrently, there is no specific programme for employee participation targeting SMEs or micro enterprises in Germany. At the same time:
• On the one hand the labour-market policy concept of the Ich-AG did not prove itself in practice. In this context the Spanish Sociedades Laborales are a possible alternative.
• On the other hand succession planning among SMEs is becoming a pressing problem; although recent voices suggest employees as successors, a conclusive approach is still lacking. In this context the Polish Spółki Pracownicze as successors to the former state owner may serve as best practice.


Exchange of Experience

Based on the broad experiences of the Kelso Professorship this project aims to develop an employee financial participation model for SMEs taking into account already existing participation mechanisms. The project makes proposals for regional support programmes as well as for the reform of the German Mitarbeiterkapitalbeteiligungsgesetz. It thus offers solutions to deficits that emerge in practice (vertical transfer).


Project Partners

Verein zur Förderung der Kooperation von Wissenschaft und Arbeitswelt e.V. (KOWA) | Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB) Bezirk Berlin-Brandenburg | Ministry of Economcs of the Republic of Poland | Basque Regional Government (Gobierno Vasco, Eusko Jaurlaritza) | Allerhand-Institute, Krakow | Mondragon University | Opole University


An investment in your futureThis project is supported by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Women and Family Affairs with funds from the European Social Fund and the land Brandenburg.