Understanding the Purpose of TUPE

The world of business has changed dramatically over recent years. These days, we often hear about businesses and companies being taken over by other larger ones or business changing hands altogether. This is something that can have an enormous impact on employees, as they naturally become concerned about what may change as a result of this and whether or not they will even keep their jobs.

TUPE, or Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations are in place to provide essential protection and peace of mind for employees that find themselves in this situation. Under these regulations, any business that does change hands would need to do so in line with the legal requirements in terms of the transfer of employees and liabilities. Essentially, TUPE is designed to safeguard the jobs of employees in the event that the contract, business, or part of the business changes hands.

Greater Peace of Mind

It can understandably be an extremely worrying time for any employee working for a company that is going to be merging or is being taken over or sold on. The first thought for employees is what is going to happen with their jobs, the terms and conditions, their pay, and other important factors. Well, this is where TUPE regulations come into play, as they are designed to provide protection for employees when it comes to matters such as these.

You should also bear in mind that TUPE is not just for large organisations. It applies to businesses of all sizes so even if you work for a small company you can still benefit from the protection of employees’ rights that these regulations provide.

A Seamless Transfer for Employees

Under TUPE regulations, when the business transfers from one owner to another, the transfer for employees should be seamless. On the official day of the transfer, all people working at the company will become the employees of the new employer rather than the old one. All duties, terns and conditions, and positions should remain the same so all the only key thing that changes is the employer that you are working for.

Of course, there may be general changes to get used to such as new management and other broader changes. However, these are not changes in your specific job role, duties, and terms, which should remain as they were before under TUPE regulations.

In the event that your new employer tries to make changes to terms and conditions solely because of the transfer, this is not accepted under TUPE regulations. Some incoming employers that have also brought their own staff members find that as a result of the transfer three are various employees who are in the same jobs but operation on different terms. This may prompt them to try and make changes so that everyone is on the same terms but this is something that TUPE provides protection against.

The Aims of TUPE

As you can see, TUPE is designed to provide a safeguard and protection to employees that are being transferred as part of a company transfer, sale, or merger. The main ways in which these regulations provide this protection is through:

  • Providing protections for employees from dismissal as a direct result of the transfer
  • Ensuring existing terms and conditions are protected for all employees involved in the transfer
  • Ensuring that employees are kept fully informed about the details of any transfer
    Consultation Regarding a Transfer

Under TUPE regulations, all employees of the existing business must be kept informed and consulted in relation to the proposed transfer. Employers must provide those affected with a range of information such as when the transfer is scheduled for, why the transfer is taking place, what the impact of the transfer may be, and what assistance can be provided for employees that are affected.

Seeking Advice

As an employee of a business that is going through a transfer or merger, you can seek advice if you feel that there is a problem in terms of breach of TUPE regulations. If you are a member of a union, you can take your concerns to them so that they can delve deeper. If not, you can seek legal assistance and advice or you can get information from agencies such as ACAS.