The German government plans to give companies' shareholders a greater say in setting managers' pay.

The proposal follows a similar decision by voters in neighboring Switzerland this year and comes as Germany prepares for national elections.

The plan, approved Wednesday by Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet, foresees obligatory, binding votes at publicly listed companies' annual general meetings on the pay system and levels for managers.

Those decisions are currently taken by German companies' boards of directors and shareholder votes are voluntary and nonbinding.

The government produced the proposal ahead of September elections.

Germany's opposition Social Democrats have vocally attacked perceived corporate greed and denounced the government plan as ineffectual window-dressing.

They say annual shareholder meetings are dominated by big investors that themselves have fueled excessive pay.