Employees have a legal right to be informed and consulted about issues at work if the company or organisation has 50 or more employees.

Employees’ rights

Employees must:

  • be told about plans and decisions
  • be consulted, eg give their opinion on changes in working conditions
  • ask for a formal agreement that sets out the process

The request for a formal agreement must be made by at least 15 employees or 10% of employees, whichever number is greater.

What employers must do

If a formal agreement exists you must inform and consult employees about:

  • the economic situation of the business
  • job prospects
  • major changes in how work is organised

Even if there isn’t a formal agreement you must inform and consult employees about:

  • plans to sell the business or buy a new one
  • certain changes to an occupational or personal pension scheme
  • 20 or more redundancies in any 90-day period at any single place of work

Set up a formal agreement

You must start negotiations no later than 3 months after a valid request has been made.

Negotiations can last for up to 6 months and can only be extended if both the employer and employee representatives agree.

The employer and employee representatives decide the issues to be covered by the agreement. But it must cover all the employees in the organisation.

Changing a pre-existing agreement

You must negotiate a new agreement if 40% or more of the workforce asks for an existing agreement to be changed.

You can hold a ballot to see if the employees support a request to change an agreement if more than 10% but less than 40% make the request.

Challenging a request

You must apply to the Central Arbitration Committee if you want to challenge a request.

Download and fill in the challenge a request form.

Make a complaint once an agreement is in place

After an agreement is in place you must make any complaints to the Central Arbitration Committee.

You can complain that revealing information would harm the business.

You also have the right to respond to complaints that you’re:

The forms must be emailed to the Central Arbitration Committee.

Central Arbitration Committee

Find out more about the regulations

The full regulations are in the guide for employers and employees on the information and consultation of employees.

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has further guidance.