What is TUPE?


15 Nov 2018


TUPE refers to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations in business.

What does TUPE mean?

TUPE is a set of protective regulations that safeguard the rights of employees undergoing transfer. The regulations came into force in 1981, and remain the most important piece of legislation when dealing with employee transfer.

When does TUPE apply, and when does TUPE not apply?

TUPE applies when one of two types of transfer occur:

  • A business transfer
  • A service provision transfer

Business transfer: In this scenario, either your whole business or a section of your business will move to a new owner—or a merger will occur, creating a brand new employer.

Service provision transfer: In this scenario, TUPE law will apply if an internal service is outsourced, an outsourced service is given to a new contractor, or an outsourced service ends and is transferred in-house.

What is a TUPE transfer?

The TUPE process is as follows:

  1. The outgoing employer (the employer who is responsible for the transferring employee prior to the transfer) must inform and consult any affected staff.

The information you pass on should include when the transfer will take place, any implications for the employee, including redundancies or change of location, and specific measures that either you, or the incoming employer is going to take in respect of affected employees.

  1. The outgoing employer must provide information to the incoming employer.

Include written details of all employees involved in the transfer, give this information at least 28 days before the transfer.

  1. Both employers should ensure smooth running of day-to-day operations on the day of the transfer.

 Provide a welcome induction for new staff to help settle them into the business. If you are an outgoing employer, check in with your employees to ensure operations are continuing to run smoothly.

  1. Assess any issues raised post-transfer

If redundancies are required and all parties involved are adequately prepared thanks to steps 1, 2 and 3, consultations should go fairly smoothly. Re-assess whether redundancies are necessary once the transfer is complete. If a redundancy is no longer necessary, inform your employees and go through the proper consultation process.

How long does TUPE last after a transfer?

Renegotiating terms and conditions of any transferred employees is a complicated area and it should be approached with caution. Terms cannot be changed just because of the transfer, but may be possible where there is an economic, technical or organisational reason behind the change. Terms governed by collective agreements can be renegotiated after one year and the new T&Cs must be no less favourable to the employee than their previous T&Cs.

Employees may not want to work for a new employer, despite the protection afforded by TUPE; notice periods don’t apply in this case and the employment will terminate when the transfer occurs.

Expert Support

For all the ins and outs of TUPE, refer to the Acas TUPE guide.

For guidance on the 2014 amendments, see the updated TUPE Regulations 2014 guide

For expert support navigating the complicated issues that can arise from a TUPE transfer, speak to a Croner consultant on 01455 858 132.

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