... are now available on the HMSO website. They were passed last month, and have just been placed on the internet.
The Regulations come into force on 6th April 2005, applying intitially to 'undertakings' with at least 150 employees. From 6th April 2007, they will apply to undertakings with at least 100 employees, and to undertakings with at least 50 employees from 6th April 2008.
Subject to a request from a sufficient number of employees, it places an obligation on the employer to provide information (and to consult with) with the workforce over:
(a) the recent and probable development of the undertaking's activities and economic situation;
(b) the situation, structure and probable development of employment within the undertaking and on any anticipatory measures envisaged, in particular, where there is a threat to employment within the undertaking; and
(c) decisions likely to lead to substantial changes in work organisation or in contractual relations, including collective redundancies or TUPE transfers.
If an employer fails to comply (note: there is an express duty to cooperate), an application is made to the CAC, which will make such orders as it thinks fit. If the employer fails to comply with those orders, the Employment Appeal Tribunal can impose a fine of up to £75,000.
The Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004
[thanks to Raymond Jeffers, chairman of the Employment Lawyers' Association, whose nocturnal surfing habits led to discovery of these Regulations!]