TUPE is the common name for the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. Broadly speaking, this law provides protection to employees where an employer has merged with or been taken over by another, or there has been a change in service provision. Although a relatively simple principle, it is a notoriously complex area.
The Government has sought to make the TUPE regulations more effective and flexible, and some important changes are rolling out from 31st January 2014.
Some key changes include:-
- A change in the location of the workforce after transfer will now explicitly count as an ETO reason (thus potentially fair reason for dismissal) (from 31st January)
- The outgoing employer will have to provide certain information to the incoming employer within 28 days prior to the transfer date (it is currently 14 days) (from 1st May 14)
- Employers with fewer than 10 employees may inform and consult directly with affected staff if there is no Trade Union or existing staff representative body (thus avoiding the need to elect representatives for TUPE purposes) (from 31st July 2014)
Updated TUPE guidance can be accessed on the UK Government website.
TUPE remains a complex area and it is recommended that specialist advice is sought if your organisation is involved in transfers, mergers, or service contracts.