Consulting and informing

Before a transfer of ownership happens, employers must tell the trade union or employee representatives:

  • that the transfer is happening, when it’s happening and why
  • how the transfer will affect them
  • whether there’ll be any reorganisation
  • how many agency workers they’re using and what types of work they are doing

Employers can be penalised if they do not do this.

Employers must consult employee representatives about anything to do with the transfer that would affect the employees (for example reorganisation). They should try to gain agreement about these changes.

Trade union representatives

If there’s a trade union in the workplace, the employer must inform and consult with the representatives from the union.

Employee representatives

If there’s no trade union the employer must inform and consult other employee representatives. 

If there are no employee representatives

Employers can inform and consult directly with their employees if they have fewer than 10 employees. 

For transfers completing on or after 1 July 2024, employers can inform and consult directly with their employees if they either:

  • have fewer than 50 employees
  • are transferring fewer than 10 employees 

Otherwise, there must be an election to select employee representatives.

Electing employee representatives

The employer should:

  • make sure the election is fair
  • decide how many people are needed to represent the interests of everyone affected
  • decide if affected employees should be represented as one workforce or in groups
  • decide how long the representatives need to be in place

They should also make sure that:

  • the employee representatives are people who are affected by the transfer
  • no affected employee is unreasonably excluded from standing for election
  • all affected employees at the time of the election are entitled to vote
  • employees can vote for as many candidates as there are positions to be filled
  • if possible, voting is done in secret
  • votes are accurately counted

If you’re an employee representative you have the same rights as a trade union representative to help you carry out your role.