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Employment Law

TUPE

TUPE makes sure your employees are protected during certain changes to the structure of your business. Our solicitors can help you follow these regulations and avoid expensive legal disputes.

TUPE applies if your business is going through a change of ownership or a change in service provider. It can also mean that you inherit employees when you buy a business or take on a contract to provide services. 

Restructuring your business can lead to many changes for your employees. It’s important to be able to recognise if TUPE applies and to plan accordingly. Our employment solicitors can help you comply with your legal obligations and minimise your risk.

What is TUPE?

TUPE stands for The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.

TUPE protects employee rights if:

  • Your business or part of it changes ownership
  • You acquire the assets of another business
  • You begin providing services to another organisation
  • A service provider to your business changes
  • You outsource services to another organisation, or take them back in-house.

TUPE applies to public and private sector businesses of all sizes, even if the transfer is between two businesses in the same group. However, TUPE doesn’t apply to share sales, so if you buy or sell the shares in a business, TUPE won’t normally apply.

There are two types of TUPE transfer:

Business transfers – When a business or part of it changes ownership. The purchased business’s staff become employees of the person or company that buys it.

Service provision changes – When you outsource services to a contractor, transfer services between contractors, or bring services back in-house. TUPE doesn’t apply for the supply of goods for one off events or short-term work.

What Does It Mean For My Business?

If TUPE applies, there are a number of legal obligations that you need to be aware of. Ignoring them could lead to expensive claims and employment tribunal hearings.

If you are transferring existing employees to a new employer, you’ll need to:

  • Provide the new employer with information about the employees – known as employee liability information
  • Provide information to trade union or other employee representative and
  • Ask the new employer about any changes that they are proposing to make which may affect the employees.

You may also need to:

  • Consult with trade union or other employee representatives
  • Consult with all affected employees individually if you are a small business.

If you’re taking on employees from another business or service provider, you’ll need to:

  • Provide information to their old employer, ahead of the transfer, about any changes that you are proposing to make which may affect the employees who transfer
  • Accept responsibility for employees dismissed because of the transfer
  • Honour the contractual terms of employment that you have inherited
  • Pay employees with at least 2 years of service a redundancy payment if you do decide to make them redundant
  • Consult with employee representatives or trade unions in relation to any of your existing employees who may be affected by the transfer.

The information and consultation process is an important part of TUPE. Not complying with it could lead to awards of up to 13 weeks’ gross pay per employee.

We’ll guide you through the TUPE process making sure you follow each step correctly. We can help you inform your employees and their representatives about the transfer, carry out a proper consultation process, and advise on any necessary redundancies. Our team will help you tick all the boxes so you can carry on running your business.

Our team can also advise on and help you negotiate the wording of the contracts for the transfer of your staff, to ensure that you get the best possible protection for your business.

What About Contracts, Pension Rights and Redundancy?

If your business is changing, your employees need to know how it will affect them. Making sure you’ve considered everything will help you avoid any costly legal disputes.

If you’re transferring or taking on new employees you’ll need to consider that:

  • The original employment contracts still apply. You can only change contracts if there is an ‘economical, technical or organisational’ (ETO) reason or the change is unrelated to the transfer
  • Occupational pension rights accrued before the transfer are protected, but most occupational pension rights don’t transfer
  • New pension arrangements for transferred employees must meet certain minimum levels of contribution
  • Old age, invalidity (when you can’t work from an illness or disability) and survivor’s benefit rights won’t transfer under TUPE but early retirement benefits will
  • Making staff redundant because of the transfer may be an unfair dismissal.

These issues can get complicated if you’re not familiar with TUPE. Our solicitors can help you through any issues specific to your business or service. We can also offer expert advice on redundancy issues and how to manage redundancies on a transfer.

How Can We Help?

Knowing when and how TUPE applies to your business is the key to staying compliant.

Our team work with businesses of all sizes in the public and private sectors, all with TUPE issues unique to their business. Our team will work with you to understand your business objectives and provide the best solutions going forward.

We can help you:

  • Negotiate the TUPE wording in your sale, purchase, or outsourcing agreements (including appropriate warranties and indemnities)
  • Arrange the elections of employee representatives for the consultation process if necessary
  • Draft letters to employees, trade unions or employee representatives
  • Carry out the consultation process.

We won’t just fix the problem, our aim is to help your business grow so our team will be on hand whenever you need us long after your transfer happens.

It’s best to contact us early if you think you’re facing a TUPE situation. Call us on 0808 271 2602 or contact us online and to talk our solicitors.

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