Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations “TUPE”
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Lawson-West’s expert employment solicitors and lawyers have significant experience of TUPE transfers.
What is TUPE? What does it do? And who does it affect? These are the familiar questions of most employees when they are faced with business transfers between employers. TUPE is a set of Regulations which look to preserve your rights as employees from one business to another when that business is sold or bought.
It is not always in sales and purchases when a transfer of undertakings can apply. TUPE can apply in situations when outsourcing takes place known as a service provision change. This can be when a contract ends or begins with a new contractor or when a service is awarded to a new provider.
In order for TUPE to apply the following applies:
- Your employment would transfer to the new business owner/s
- Your terms and conditions transfer over, such as rate of pay and any benefits which you are entitled
- Your continuity of service remains
- Your rights are maintained
It is not usual for your terms and conditions to be changed prior to any transfer taking place to align you with your new colleagues. It is common for employees to retain their current terms during the transfer and thereafter. A new employer should not change your terms of employment following the transfer for a reasonable period of time or this conduct could give rise to Employment Tribunal Claims of automatic unfair dismissal. A new employer can change an employees terms if they are more favourable however upon the transfer if they are looking to harmonise the workforces.
A new employer can only change your terms of employment if the reason is for an ‘economic, technical or organisational reason’. In short, this is for a reason relating to the new companies performance, the equipment the company uses or matters connected to the organisational structure of the company.
Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations are extremely complicated with many influencing factors. If you believe your employment could be subject to a TUPE transfer our advice is to seek legal assistance at the outset to avoid possible complications.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are the subject of a TUPE transfer, we can help. Please remember there are strict time limits in Employment claims and you should take good free legal advice as soon as possible.
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