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- Employers Not Ready for New Information & Consultation Legislation -

Employees could be more likely to learn of company redundancies through hearsay or the media than from their employer, as new research, commissioned by leading business adviser Croner, reveals that 74 percent of employees are not aware of new rights to be consulted on major employment issues in the workplace.

Furthermore, over three-quarters (76%) of the 790 respondents who took part in the YouGov poll say they would like to have the opportunity to express an opinion about major issues surrounding their employment and the company in which they work.

Andrew Auld, HR development manager at Croner, believes employers aren’t doing enough to make staff aware of their new legal right to be involved in significant workplace changes. They could soon be caught out by the impending Information and Consultation legislation, due 6 April, and facing fines of up to £75,000.*

Croner is advising employers to use the introduction of the new legislation as an opportunity to look at how they can achieve best practice by improving the way they communicate with their employees, which could ultimately lead to a more productive and competitive business.

Auld says that lack of communication within organisations can create a boss/worker divide, and that by setting best practice internal communications standards, companies can actually enhance employees’ commitment and support of the business – and crucially, help meet the requirements of the new legislation.

The new law means that, in certain circumstances, companies will be legally required to communicate with their employees on significant employment issues, such as redundancies or restructuring. But today’s research from Croner reveals that most organisations have a long way to go before they meet its requirements.

Auld says: “Even some of the largest corporates have been criticised for failing to communicate properly with employees on issues as serious as redundancy. But the new Information & Consultation law means they now have a legal right to collectively demand to be involved in such decisions.

“And with our survey revealing the vast majority of employees want the opportunity to air their views, employers are best advised to set up proactive channels of communication whereby staff have an opportunity to collectively express opinions on major company developments, and through which employers can communicate with them.

“Allowing TV or radio to take the place of good HR practice could see the employer facing grave fines, or having their name dragged through the media mud – with potential negative impact on their share price and reputation.”

After 6 April, companies with 150 or more employees must act upon an employee request to be informed and consulted on major employment issues. The request must be made by at least ten percent of employees in the organisation (subject to a minimum of 15 employees and a maximum of 2,500 employees). The legislation will include companies with 100 or more employees in April 2007, and those with 50 or more employees in April 2008.

Auld says: “From a best practice point of view, it makes good business sense that employers communicate with their staff. There is a strong argument to say that when employees feel involved they will be more productive and dedicated in their work, and more supportive and resilient even if redundancies need to be made.

“Even though the legislation doesn’t yet cover smaller businesses, all employers should view it as an opportunity to put in place effective internal communications, which is a key characteristic of many of the UK’s best performing workplaces.”

Croner is offering more in-depth information and guidance on the legislation in a new report, Information & Consultation, released mid-April. To obtain a copy of the executive summary, please call 0208 247 1632.

Croner is providing employers with some practical advice on best practice in workplace communication and the new legislation:

· The new legislation is intended to stamp out unacceptable behaviour towards employees, such as finding out from the media that their job is at risk.

· The best performing companies are successful communicators with their employees. Benefits of creating a good working environment include reduced absenteeism and staff turnover, improved innovation, improved productivity and competitiveness.

· Employers should use the legislation as an opportunity to address the internal communications needs of their business.

· Employers shouldn’t wait for employees to make a request. They should be proactive and engage in dialogue with employees about significant business changes and development. It’s likely that this is already taking place if good internal communication is being practised.

· Advise employees of their legal right to be informed and consulted.

· Discuss with employees their preferred procedures for workplace communication. Employers may wish to set up a Communications Council through which employees can air their views and select representatives to communicate with the employer.

· The employer is not legally obliged to comply with employee demands, and the legislation is not intended to create a medium for collective bargaining. However, they must acknowledge and consider employees’ views before taking action.

*Financial penalties are expected to be rare. Employers have one month to respond to a request. If this is refused, a complaint can be made to the Central Arbitration Committee, which will decide if the employer has broken the law.

ENDS
Issued by Robson Brown Public Relations on behalf of Croner, part of Wolters Kluwer (UK) Limited

For more information contact:
Nicola Green / Marianne Quayle
Tel: (0191) 244 6637 / (0191) 244 6654
Email: nicolag@robson-brown.co.uk / marianneq@robson-brown.co.uk
Fax: (0191) 244 6622

Notes to Editors:

Case Study - Available for interview

Internal Communication and Web Manager, One NorthEast, Newcastle upon Tyne. Gemma Dunn (26) will talk about how effective internal communications practice can help organisations prepare for the new legislation, and how internal communication has benefited One NorthEast, the Regional Development Agency for the North East region.

About the Survey
Croner commissioned the YouGov survey of 790 people working for businesses with 150 employees or more. The results are as follows:

Are you aware of the new legislation coming into force which makes employers with 150 or more staff legally obliged to inform and consult you on significant business changes?

Yes 19%
No 74%
Don’t know 7%

· Where the employee works for a nationalised industry or public corporation, awareness of the legislation jumps to 33%

· 27% of people over the age of 50 are aware of the legislation, compared to only 12% of those aged 18 to 29.

· Eight out of ten people in companies with between 500 and 999 employees are unaware of the legislation

Do you want to be actively involved in consultations about business changes which would impact on strategy?

Yes, always 24%
Yes, sometimes 52%
No, never 13%
Don’t know 12%

· 28% of men, but only 19% of women always want to be actively involved in consultations

· Twice as many (30%) of people aged over 50 compared to the 18-29 age group want to always be actively involved in consultations

· 83% of people in Scotland want to always or sometimes be involved in consultations, compared with an average of 76%

· 88% of people working for a nationalised industry or public corporation always or sometimes be involved in consultations

An image summary showing the full survey results broken down by gender, age and region, provided in either JPEG, EPS or PDF format is available.

About Croner
Croner is a leading provider of business information, advice and support, publishing over 250 information packages in the areas of compliance and best practice. Practical information solutions are available in a range of formats to suit individual business needs, from subscription-based loose-leaf manuals, newsletters and magazines to software support packages, online interactive products and telephone helplines manned by dedicated professionals offering confidential expert advice.

www.croner.co.uk



About Croner Consulting
Croner Consulting, part of Wolters Kluwer (UK) Limited, is based in Leicestershire, with offices in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cambridgeshire, Shipley and Stafford. Croner Consulting is the UK's largest and most experienced provider of in-depth advice and practical support for businesses in the high-risk areas of employment, health & safety and other regulatory driven areas.



Wolters Kluwer UK, incorporating the core brands, Croner and CCH, is the UK's most respected provider of business information and consultancy services, providing a range of smart information tools that help make businesses more effective and profitable; from online interactive products and CD-ROMs to books, professional journals and loose-leaf publications.

Wolters Kluwer UK offers expertise in areas including:



· Human Resources

· Health & Safety

· Education and Healthcare

· Hospitality and Environmental Management

· Small Business

· Manufacturing and Construction

· International Trade & Transport

· Tax, Accountancy & Finance



Wolters Kluwer UK is part of Legal, Tax & Regulatory Europe, a division of Wolters Kluwer. Wolters Kluwer is a leading multinational publisher and information services company based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For further information, please visit www.wolterskluwer.co.uk



Croner is a trading name of Wolters Kluwer (UK) Limited, Registered number 450650. Registered office: 145 London Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT2 6SR. Wolters Kluwer (UK) Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for general insurance business.



The views and advice given in this article are not intended to provide specific, definitive advice. Accordingly specific professional advice should be sought on any issue or course of action you may be considering.


This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Robson Brown Communications in the following categories: Business & Finance, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.