HR making no provisions for consultation directive

With less than a year to go before it becomes law, most HR departments have
no plans to deal with the impending Information Consultation Directive (ICD).

Under the terms of the ICD, staff have a right to be informed about the
business’s economic situation and important changes in the company – if at
least 10 per cent of employees request it.

A survey by the Involvement and Participation Association has found that
three-quarters of UK companies have no procedures to cover the provisions of
the directive, which comes into force on 23 March 2005.

Only half of all the HR professionals surveyed knew when the law comes into
operation, yet nine out of 10 believe it will impact on their business.

Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of
Personnel and Development, said it was worrying that so few companies were
prepared, as ICD arrangements were not something that could be put into place
at the last minute.

"With the small amount of staff necessary [to make a consultation
request], employers are at risk of having procedures imposed on them that don’t
suit, rather than having a process that fits their own culture, shape and
strategic objectives," he said.

"This is a real opportunity for employers to have arrangements that
will involve staff and develop a more committed and informed workforce,"
he added.

Raymond Jeffers, head of employment law at Linklaters, said HR had to be at
the centre of implementing ICD provisions. "This is about how you
introduce and effect change and it’s about issues that relate to employees, so
HR will be right at the centre of this," he said. "There is a year to
go and the clock is ticking."

By Michael Millar

Go to www.personneltoday.com/legal
for more information the ICD

What is the ICD?

The directive gives staff a right to be informed about the
business’s economic situation, informed and consulted about employment
prospects, and about decisions likely to lead to substantial changes in work
organisation or contractual relations, including redundancies and transfers.

Source: DTI

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