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Summaries of EU Legislation

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EU general rules on employee information and consultation

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EU general rules on employee information and consultation

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2002/14/EC – general framework for informing and consulting employees in the EU

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

It establishes general principles on the minimum information* and consultation* rights for employees in companies based in the European Union (EU). National legislation and industrial relations’ practices determine how these are applied.

KEY POINTS

  • EU countries may:
    • choose whether the legislation applies to companies with at least 50 or establishments with at least 20 employees
    • establish special rules for companies essentially involved in political, professional organisational, religious, charitable, educational, scientific or artistic aims
    • determine that employers do not need to inform or consult employee representatives where this would seriously harm the company’s operation.
  • Information and consultation covers data on a company’s
    • recent and probable development of activities and economic situation
    • employment structure and probable development, especially if there is a threat to jobs
    • decisions that could lead to substantial changes in the way work is organised or in contractual relations.
  • Consultation must take place:
    • when the timing, method and content are considered appropriate
    • at the relevant management and employee representation level, depending on the issue being discussed
    • on the basis of the information the employer supplies and of the opinion of the employees’ representatives
    • in a way that enables employee representatives to meet their employer and receive a response to any opinion they might formulate
    • with a view to reaching agreement on decisions that could lead to substantial changes in the way work is organised or in contractual relations.
  • Employee representatives and their advisors must not make public any information they have received in confidence.
  • The original legislation gave EU countries the possibility of excluding crews of vessels on the high seas. That exemption was removed by a 2015 amendment.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It entered into force on 23 March 2002. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 23 March 2005.

BACKGROUND

  • The European Commission consulted employer and employee representatives in early 2015 on whether to merge the following 3 directives into one legislative text: the general framework for information and consultation of workers, collective redundancies and transfers of undertakings.
  • The exercise is also considering whether the concepts of ‘information’ and ‘consultation’ could be better aligned.
  • For more information, see:

* KEY TERMS

Information: data given by the employer so employee representatives can be informed about an issue and examine it.

Consultation: exchange of views and dialogue between employee representatives and the employer.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community - Joint declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on employee representation (OJ L 80, 23.3.2002, pp. 29–34)

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2002/14/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purposes only.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Consultation document: First phase consultation of Social Partners under Article 154 TFEU on a consolidation of the EU Directives on information and consultation of workers (C(2015) 2303 final, 10.4.2015)

last update 04.12.2016

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