Formal ICE agreements
By law, employers must 'inform and consult' their employees about:
- any possible redundancies
- changes to their contract
- a TUPE transfer
- changes to employees' pension arrangements
In terms of the law:
- 'inform' means the employer is communicating with staff to make sure they're updated about workplace matters
- 'consult' means the employer actively seeks and considers employees' views before making a decision
Informing and consulting informally
It's useful for employers to discuss any important workplace matters with their employees. Workplace forums are a good way to get together and resolve issues.
Whether they choose to use a workplace forum or something else, employers should get the employees' views on the best way to inform and consult them.
If there are 50 or more employees
If there are 50 or more employees in the organisation, they have the right to request a formal agreement to be informed and consulted.
This is known as:
- an ICE agreement (as it's part of the 'Information and Consultation of Employees' regulations)
- an information and consultation agreement
This agreement covers significant workplace matters and decisions. It often includes:
- working conditions
- new ways of working
- the output and quality of the business's goods or services
- health and safety
- new equipment
- staffing levels
- physical and mental wellbeing
Employees can also request this agreement if there's already an agreement but they feel it does not meet their current needs.
Even with an agreement, the employer has the right not to change any business decisions they plan to take. But it does mean:
- employees will be able to give their feedback and raise any concerns
- the employer will be able to make a more informed decision
If an employer wants to set up a formal agreement
An employer can start setting up an information and consultation agreement without a request from their employees. This is called 'giving notice'.
When the employer gives notice:
- the information must be in writing, dated, and provided so that as many employees as possible will see it, for example in an email to all staff
- they must tell their employees this is a 'requirement of the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations'