Consulting on changing employment terms

Consultation with affected employees is an important part of most change processes.

If your proposals involve the potential 'dismissal' of 20 or more employees at the same establishment within a 90 day period (either by themselves or when combined with other redundancy or changing terms exercises at that establishment), you may need to carry out collective consultation with union or employee representatives. According to case-law, 'dismissal' includes dismissal and re-engagement and a repudiatory breach of contract.

Even when consultation is not a statutory requirement, we would still recommend it in most cases, and this section also covers non-statutory group consultation and individual consultation. Consultation helps to get employees on board, it makes claims less likely and it can provide a defence to unfair dismissal and discrimination claims.

If you have a statutory works council (set up following an employee request under the Information and Consultation Regulations) you may be required to consult it over plans to change terms. Meeting this requirement might involve consulting the works council at an early stage and/or regardless of whether any employees may be dismissed as a result of the plans. Check the constitution and seek further advice. The guidance in this section assumes that you do not have a statutory works council.

 

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