Take the initiative on informing and consulting your employees says EEF

EEF, the manufacturers̵7; organisation, is advising employers to check their arrangements for informing and consulting on work related issues because, as of 7th April, more employees will be able to make a formal request for a statutory negotiated agreement.

For the first time, businesses with 50 to 99 employees will come within the scope of the so-called ICE regulations (Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004). These empower employees to seek a negotiated agreement provided they make a formal, written request supported by at least 15 employees.

For some businesses coming within the scope of ICE, current voluntary arrangements for informing and consulting (staff forum, works council etc) will qualify for special status as a ̵6;pre-existing̵7; agreement under the regulations.

If, after review, employers find their arrangements need amendment in order to qualify, EEF suggests they might wish to take the initiative and start talking to employees right away.

Companies with no qualifying agreement should be aware that they are vulnerable to employees deciding at any time to make a formal request to enter into negotiations for a statutory negotiated agreement under the ICE Regulations.

̶0;A voluntary agreement gives you more flexibility over how you choose to inform and consult your workforce. You can tailor the arrangements to suit the needs and structure of your business,̶1; says Lucy Atherton, EEF̵7;s Senior Legal Adviser.

She adds: ̶0;You would still have some flexibility if you are forced down the statutory negotiating route, but you may find it more time consuming, complicated and costly to achieve than if you began voluntarily. The statutory process must also be completed within strict timescales.̶1;

EEF member companies can obtain more information and advice about the implications of the ICE regulations and how to approach them from EEF̵7;s nationwide team of 50+ HR and legal experts.

Image: Employees are now empowered to seek a negotiated agreement provided they make a formal, written request supported by at least 15 colleagues

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