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Consultation closes on reform of Tupe

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How should employers prepare for proposed changes to the transfer rules? Our comments as featured in People Management.

According to government figures, there are currently between 26,500 and 48,000 Tupe transfers taking place each year, affecting between 1.42 million and 2.11 employees annually: a staggering number which has prompted efforts to reform employment legislation relating to transfers.

Since the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 came into force, concerns have frequently been raised about them going beyond the requirements of European law, especially that the regulations are overly bureaucratic and hamper entrepreneurialism, not least in the way they apply to service provision changes.

Law

Tupe protects employees if their work goes elsewhere, such as when one business buys another, or when a business engages a contractor to carry out work previously done in-house, or when work that was once contracted out is brought in-house.

The beneficiaries of Tupe are the employees who are able to claim unfair dismissal in a number of scenarios where their job is effectively relocated. The fact that staff must be transferred with their current level of pay and other benefits has been a headache for businesses wishing to streamline terms and conditions.

Reforms

The Government has suggested changes to Tupe as part of its review of employment law and the consultation on these has just closed. The proposed changes include:

Checklist

To ensure they are prepared for the likely changes, employers should:


Although the changes to Tupe are still at the consultation stage, HR professionals would be wise to familiarise themselves with them now. Should the transfer rules become relevant in the not-so-distant future, for example, if the business is sold or a major contract is won, the implications for how the business is run could become far reaching.
 

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