Our approach to shaping employee relations

Our contribution to the SDGs

We pursue dialog-oriented employee relations throughout the Group and engage in trust-based, constructive collaboration with employee representatives and unions. Our works councils, central works councils, and Group Works Council represent the interests of our employees at our Group in Germany.

Our partner representing the employees’ interests on a European level is the European Works Council (EWC). We also have executive staff representation committees and representatives for people with disbilities at works, company, and Group levels. Even in non-European nations like the United States, all of our employees enjoy the right to form and join labor unions. As the underlying laws and contracts vary from country to country, co-determination matters are managed locally, and always together with trade unions and employees’ representatives. Group management is generally involved in all major issues.  

We have set Group-wide uniform standards for managing employee relations, which have been enshrined in our Guiding Principles, in our Code of Human Rights & Social Principles policy statement, in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group Policy, and our Group Policy on Employee Relations. Comprehensive information about compliance with human rights at our Group is provided in the section on “Human rights“ and on a separate page under “Experiencing sustainability”.

Not all of our suppliers offer their employees the option of collective bargaining. This is also the case in our downstream value chain, for example, at recycling companies for electronic scrap. The impact assessment of our materiality analysis showed that in the upstream value chain stages of the global electronics industry, there are only limited opportunities for union representation. We have implemented a comprehensive supplier management system to address risks to human rights in our upstream value chain. 

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

    GRI 407 3-3 (Management of material topics)

Dialog and cooperation with employee representatives

During the reporting year, the company concluded 99 collective agreements with the ver.di union in Germany. As part of harmonizing the remuneration systems within the Group, we also concluded collective agreements on a global, uniform job architecture.

Responsible collective bargaining plays an important role and has a long tradition at our company. The percentage of employees covered by collective agreements is published in the non-financial statement in our Annual Report.

Constructive dialog
In 2022, we continued our constructive dialog with our works councils. As the underlying laws and contracts vary from country to country, co-determination matters are managed locally with trade unions and employees’ representatives. Group management is generally involved in all major issues. Further information can be found in our Annual Report.

Reporting against standards


Global Compact

  • Principle 3 (Uphold freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining)

Employee Relations Policy

The Group-wide Policy on Employee Relations (Employee Relations Policy, ERP) sets out twelve core elements describing what Deutsche Telekom stands for worldwide as an employer. It outlines our commitment to trust-based collaboration with employee representatives and covers topics such as employee health, fair pay, and prohibition on discrimination. The ERP is a framework that employees throughout the Group can refer to. Its aim is to enable them to contribute personally to the company targets and enhance shareholder value. The framework refers to our Code of Human Rights & Social Principles policy statement, along with our “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” Group Policy, and explains which tools we use to ensure compliance.

In 2020, we revised and updated the ERP and had it approved by the Board of Management. The basic character and core content remained unchanged. In a move designed to address changes in the working world and in our processes, we jointly support topics such as digitalization, freedom of speech and virtual working. The new version of the policy addresses the following topics:

  • Set of values
  • Recruitment and development
  • Responsible management of organizational change
  • Health, safety, and sustainability
  • Remuneration and recognition
  • Work-life
  • Virtual working
  • Leadership
  • Diversity
  • Prohibition on discrimination
  • Commitment and communication
  • Collaboration with employees’ representatives

We verify implementation of and compliance with the ERP through specific reviews. Two to three national companies are subject to such a review every year. They use the results of the review to further improve their relations with employees. The reviews also help us conduct a Group-wide assessment of employer/employee relations and any human rights-related risks in our business activities. During the reporting year, reviews were conducted as part of human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) at the three DTSE companies in Romania, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

If a review indicates that our voluntary commitments are not adequately implemented, we follow up on these indications and initiate corrective measures. We publish reviews of the reports of our national companies on our Group portal, under “Responsible employer”.

Fair pay and benefits

We offer our employees competitive, performance-based remuneration oriented to the relevant national labor market. Our remuneration policies are structured to guarantee equal pay for all employees; they do not discriminate.

With our “Global Compensation Guideline” for executives, collective agreements and works agreements, we ensure a transparent and gender-neutral payment structure and remuneration for our employees at the Group. Under this guideline, pay is based on the degree of difficulty and complexity of the specific task, and not on the individual person. We thereby ensure that remuneration at the Deutsche Telekom Group is based on the type and scope of the work performed and the requirements of the relevant position, irrespective of diversity aspects such as gender, age, and nationality. In addition, we offer our employees additional benefits, such as contributions to the company pension scheme, and subsidized share purchasing in the framework of our “Shares2you” program.

As part of our Group-wide employee survey, we regularly ascertain how satisfied our employees are with their pay. We also conduct other surveys on specific topics and in specific units.

In 2018, we compiled a report on equal pay and equality for the first time in order to comply with the new legal requirements of the Transparency in Wage Structures Act. It is published every five years. The current report is available here.

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 405-2 (Diversity and Equal Opportunity)

Global Compact

  • Principle 1 (Support and respect for internationally proclaimed human rights)

Salary development at Deutsche Telekom in Germany

In the collective bargaining round in May 2022, a salary increase in two steps for around 55 000 Telekom employees, apprentices, and dual students was agreed. The first step was implemented on August 1, 2022. The second will follow on June 1, 2023. Salaries increase by 5.2 percent in pay groups 1 to 5, by 5 percent in pay group 6, and by 4.8 percent in pay groups 7 to 10. The collective wage agreements have a term of 24 months. They may be terminated for the first time as of March 31, 2024.

For apprentices and dual students, the negotiating parties agreed on a salary increase in two steps: by 3.1 percent as of August 1, 2022 and by 35 euros as of June 1, 2023. Subsistence allowance for apprentices not living with their parents increased by 30 euros to 300 euros as of August 1, 2022.

To soften the impacts of inflation, additional one-time payments of000 euros were granted to employees in the lower and middle pay groups. Additional one-time payments totaling 200 euros were agreed for apprentices and dual students. The first installment of these payments was paid out in July 2022, with the second being paid out in February 2023.

Salary development and remuneration systems at T-Systems in Germany

The negotiations on salary development coincided with a tense economic phase. The negotiating parties began salary talks in the fourth quarter of 2022 for the nearly000 employees who are covered by collective agreements in Germany.

In early 2022, all T-Systems employees covered by collective agreements received a special one-time payment of000 euros for the 2021 financial year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus bonus acknowledges the significant burden and strong commitment of all employees during the pandemic. In addition, the respective annual salaries at the companies Deutsche Telekom Security GmbH and T-Systems Multimedia Solutions GmbH were increased by 2 percent with effect as of July 1, 2022.

Also, T-Systems agreed to continue refraining from imposing any compulsory redundancies until December 31, 2022. With this move, the social compatibility of the company’s transformation was assured for an additional year.

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