Representative for the Severely Disabled

General Information

On 21 December 2015, a new representative for the severely disabled was elected at Anhalt University.

Christian Städtler from the University administration was elected as Anhalt University’s Representative for the Severely Disabled. Ms. Angelika Trensch (First Vice Representative) from the Department of Agriculture, Ecotrophology and Landscape Development and Ms. Katrin Klose (Second Vice Representative) from the Department of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Management were elected as the vice representatives. The term of office for the new Representative for the Severely Disabled began on 12 January 2016.

The Representative for the Severely Disabled is responsible for the particular interest representation of severely disabled and equivalent employees in working operations.

Severely disabled persons enjoy special protections according to the Act for the Severely Disabled (Social Code, 9th Volume (SGB IX) - Rehabilitation and Participation of Disabled Persons) if they have at least a 50 percent degree of disability in their ability to work or have at least a 30 percent degree of disability in their ability to work and are recognized as equivalent to severely disabled by the Federal Employment Agency. The existence and degree of disability is set by the pension offices based on an application sent by the affected person. 

As the elected interest representation of severely disabled employees, the Representative for the Severely Disabled has the legal charge of ensuring that the employer fulfills its legal obligations, in particular the obligation to employ and duty of care for severely disabled employees.

The responsibilities of the Representative for the Severely Disabled include: 

Applications and placement suggestions

Besides evaluating whether and which positions are suitable for severely disabled persons, the Representative for the Severely Disabled’s participation rights also include viewing the relevant parts of application documents and giving placement suggestions for severely disabled and non-disabled applicants. The same applies to participation in interviews of severely disabled and non-disabled applicants unless the severely disabled applicant expressly declines the participation of the Representative for the Severely Disabled.

The participation of the Representative in personnel matters, in particular in hiring, termination, and salary grouping, serves to prepare the employer’s decision. 

Control and monitoring tasks

The Representative for the Severely Disabled is obligated to monitor the implementation of provisions that are intended to benefit severely disabled persons.

The Representative obtains the necessary information from the organizational unit without needing permission from the employer. For this purpose, the employer must grant the Representative unlimited access to all areas, even those that are generally not accessible to everyone for safety reasons. 

Questions on equivalency

What does equivalency mean in this context?

People with less than a 50 percent degree of disability but at least 30 percent may submit an application to the Federal Employment Agency requesting to be recognized as equivalent to severely disabled if, due to their disability, they cannot get or keep a suitable position without this recognition of equivalency.

Legal basis: Sec. 2(3) in conjunction with Sec. 68(2 and 3) of the Social Code Volume IX (SGB IX).

What effects does recognition of equivalency have?

With this recognition of equivalency, the person is granted the same “status” as severely disabled persons.

Effects:

  • special protection from termination,
  • special incentives for employers to hire / employ persons with subsidies for salary and consideration in the obligation to employ severely disabled persons,
  • aids at the workstation,
  • assistance from special services.

but not: 

  • Additional vacation time, free transport, and special pension benefits. 

Who can be recognized as equivalent to severely disabled?

People

  • with a degree of disability of 30 or 40 (proven by the pension office’s notification of the degree of disability),
  • residing or employed in an area of applicability for SGB IX,
  • who cannot obtain or maintain a suitable position (as defined in Sec. 73 SGB IX) due to their disability.

Equivalency is only possible for obtaining or maintaining a suitable position as defined in Sec. 73 SGB IX; that is, not for people who are employed for fewer than 18 hours per week.

Competitive disadvantages on the job market must definitely be due to the disability. Merely general operational changes (production changes, partial closings, business closing, lack of jobs, rationalization measures, etc.) that affect non-disabled persons to the same degree are not a sufficient justification for equivalency recognition, nor are advanced age, lack of qualification, or a generally difficult job market situation. 

Points that could give justification for a risk to employment based on disability include:

  • repeated / frequent absences due to the disability,
  • reduced work performance due to the disability even if the workstation has aids to compensate the disability,
  • long-term reduced resilience,
  • warnings or compensation offers connected to reduced work performance due to the disability,
  • long-term assistance required from other employees,
  • limited professional and/or regional mobility due to the disability. 

An unemployed status alone is not sufficient for recognizing equivalency. There must be specific indications that equivalency is required to return to the workforce.

For civil servants / employees with special protection from termination, typically the requirements for obtaining equivalency are not fulfilled. In individual cases, equivalency can be recognized if there are specific, disability-related reasons.

Submitting an application

The application to recognize equivalency can be submitted informally (orally, by telephone, or in writing) by the disabled person or their legal representative to the Federal Employment Agency. The facts of the case relevant for the decision are then gathered by the Federal Employment Agency with a form.

Equivalency becomes effective on the day on which the application is received by the Federal Employment Agency. For special protection from termination according to Sec. 85 SGB IX, the Federal Labor Court in its decision on 1 March 2007 - 2 AZR 217/06 stated that this protection is only effective if the employee submitted an application to request equivalency with severely disabled persons at least three weeks before receiving the termination notice. 

The data of the person submitted the application is subject to data protection regulations.

If you have additional questions, please call the service number 0800 4 5555 00 (the call is free of charge). The staff members are happy to give you advice and information.

Legal basis: Social Code, Volume IX - SGB IX

 

Suggestions and complaints

The Representative for the Severely Disabled is the person who receives suggestions and complaints from severely disabled employees and those recognized as equivalent. If the Representative believes the complaint is justified or the suggestion makes sense, they contact the employer and the employer’s representative to bring about a decision that benefits the affected person. 

The Representative for the Severely Disabled can be reached at the following telephone number:
03496 67 4930

or via the email address.