Employers’ obligations to consult with their staff (and union representatives) have increased in recent decades – upon the basis that full consultations may improve and inform decisions taken by employers.
A summary of the circumstances where consultations must take place is as follows:-
If an employer intends to make 20 or more employees redundant at any one establishment in less than 90 days then the employer must inform and consult employees or their representation.
Redundancy for this purpose includes both dismissals arising from re-organisation as well as traditional redundancy (see separate briefing note) as well as substituting new contracts of employment for old.
The duty is to consult with union representatives – or in default of this elected or otherwise appointed staff representatives.
The employers must consult about possible ways to avoid or mitigate the number of dismissals or their impact upon employers.
If any employer fails to comply with those obligations an employee may apply to an Employment Tribunal (time limit of up to 3 months after date of dismissal) and if successful receive an award to a maximum of 90 days pay.
Transfer of Undertakings
If an employee is to be affected by a Transfer of Undertaking (see separate briefing note) employees must inform a recognised trade union or in their absence appointed employee representative that a Transfer of Undertaking is to take place and any likely impact the transfer will have upon members of staff.
There are no fixed time limits for such consultations but it clearly makes sense to provide reasonable advance notice – because failure to comply with the regulations enables an employee to apply to a tribunal and if successful receive an award equivalent to a maximum of 13 weeks pay.
Information & Consultation
Employees in undertaking with 50 or more employees have the right to be informed and consulted on a regular basis about issues in the organisation of which they work.