The right approach to consulting with and providing information to your employees can improve employee motivation and performance. Employee consultation can also give management useful insights and ideas.
You should develop an information and consultation policy that helps your business communicate effectively with employees. As a minimum, you must ensure that your information and consultation meets the minimum legal requirement.
You are legally required to give all employees a written statement of employment terms within two months of taking them on. You also need to consult with employees over any changes to employment contracts, or risk a claim of constructive dismissal.
You must provide your employees with any health and safety information they need: for example, by communicating safety procedures and displaying appropriate warning signs. You must also consult employees on health and safety issues.
If you have a recognised trade union, you are broadly required to provide them with the information they ask for to help with collective bargaining.
Larger businesses may need to inform and consult employees on other issues affecting them. Businesses with 50 or more employees must set up an information and consultation agreement if asked to by a significant percentage of employees. Large multinationals operating in more than one EU country may also need to set up a European Works Council.
If you plan collective redundancies – making 20 or more employees redundant – you must consult over the plans with your employees.
You may be required to inform and consult employees if you plan to transfer your business, for example, by selling it. The requirement to inform and consult applies to any business transfer covered by the TUPE regulations.
Employee consultation may be needed for plans to change an occupational pension scheme.
In small businesses, it may be possible to involve every employee in information and consultation procedures. Alternatively, you might work with a recognised trade union or other employee representatives.
You should check the detailed legal requirements to confirm who you are required to inform and consult with.