The Government have been consulting on the existing TUPE Regulations throughout 2013 and at the end of August announced that new TUPE regulations will come into force in January 2014.

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (referred to as TUPE) is the main piece of legislation governing the sale or transfer of an undertaking (e.g. a business), or part of one, to another business. Currently, the regulations are designed to protect the rights of employees in a transfer situation enabling them to enjoy the same terms and conditions, with continuity of employment, as they formerly had with their previous employer.

The proposed changes to the Regulations are:

  • To allow the new business owner to renegotiate employees terms and conditions of employment, that were agreed in collective agreement by the previous employer and a union, one year after the transfer (provided that the overall change is no less favourable to the employee) – on the basis that the new employer would not have had the possibility before of participating in these negotiations.
  • To allow businesses with 10 or fewer employees to inform and consult directly with those employees where there is no recognised trade union or other types of representatives.
  • Clarification that for TUPE to apply, the activities carried on after a Service Provision Change must be “Fundamentally or essentially the same” as those carried on before. There has been much confusion about whether a Service Provision Change (e.g outsourcing, changes of contractor, in-sourcing) was covered.
  • To amend the Regulations so that changes in the location of a work-force following a transfer can amount to an ‘economic, technical, or organisational reason’ entailing changes in the workforce.  This means that redundancies resulting from a change in the workplace will not be automatically unfair dismissals.

More details of the current TUPE Regulations are here.

If you are an Employer and need ongoing professional help with any staff/freelance issues then talk to us at The HR Kiosk (click here) – a Human Resources Consultancy for small businesses – you can hire  us for as much time as you need.

Please note that the advice given on this website and by our Advisors is guidance only and cannot be taken as an accurate, up to date or authoritative interpretation of the law.  It can also not be seen as specific advice for individual cases. Please also note that there are differences in legislation in Northern Ireland.

Photo by Kevin Dooley