How to consult
When consulting employees you should:
- keep staff informed
- hold consultation meetings
How to keep staff informed
You should use your most appropriate internal communication channels to keep employees informed, for example:
- employee representatives
- a workplace group ('forum')
- video calls
- your organisation's intranet
- emails, letters or leaflets given directly to affected employees
It's important to make the information available for all employees, including:
- those needing reasonable adjustments – for example providing documents in an accessible format for someone with a learning disability
- any absent employees who are on sick leave and maternity, adoption or paternity leave
You should also put feedback channels in place to answer questions and address employee concerns throughout the process.
How to hold consultation meetings
Consultation must be genuine and meaningful so employers must:
- enable representatives to contact the affected employees
- provide facilities for meetings and time to meet up with the affected employees
- seriously consider any responses and suggestions from the representatives
- try to reach agreement
It's also a good idea to provide training for representatives to carry out their role effectively.
If you fail to consult, either the trade union or your employees could take you to an employment tribunal.
You do not have to make the changes suggested by your employees and their representatives during the consultation. But you must show that you've:
- discussed any changes with all affected employees and their representatives
- listened to their suggestions and fully considered them
- tried to reach an agreement
If you cannot reach an agreement, you should provide the employee representatives (or the affected employees if there are no representatives) with the reasons for rejecting their suggestions and explain why in writing.