EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

United Kingdom: Staff information and consultation on business transfers

United Kingdom
Phase: Anticipation
Type:
Staff information and consultation on business transfers
Last modified: 16 May, 2019
Native name:

Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE); Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014

English name:

Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE); Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014

Article

Regulation 13 (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE)); Regulations 5-11 (Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014)

Description

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) with the Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 provides that where there is to be a transfer of a business, employers are required to consult representatives of an independent trade union where one is recognised, or other elected representatives of the affected employees where there is no recognised trade union. 

To be protected under TUPE, the business transfer or service provision change must take place from a UK-based company. Transfers within central or local government are generally not covered by TUPE. However, the Cabinet Office has a statement of practice (’Staff Transfers in the Public Sector‘) which, in effect, guarantees TUPE-equivalent treatment for any employees transferred.

Employers must provide information and consult with employees when collective redundancies are likely, when a business will be transferred, and when changes to the employee pension are proposed. This includes when a business, undertaking, or part of a business or undertaking is transferred from one employer to another. It can also include mergers where two companies close and combine to form a new company. Employers must say when the transfer is likely to take place, the reason/s why the transfer is being undertaken and whether the new owner plans to take actions that will affect employees and what these are.

Employees’ terms and conditions of employment are protected when a business is transferred from one owner to another - TUPE (2014) allows for renegotiation of terms and conditions in collective agreements one year after transfer provided that the change is no less favourable. Employees of the outgoing (old) employer automatically become employees of the incoming (new) employer on the same terms and conditions when the business changes hands.

Unlike the collective dismissal regulations, there is no trigger or specified timeframe for this right based upon the number of employees - it applies whether one or 500 employees are affected. The 2014 changes to the TUPE regulations allow for redundancy consultation in respect of post transfer redundancies to begin before the transfer and continue after the transfer, but employers should not make selection for redundancy before the transfer takes place.

Comments

The TUC's view is that the amendments to TUPE introduced in 2014 represent a weakening of the legislation which will make it easier for employers to introduce inferior terms and conditions. 

Cost covered by
Not applicable
Involved actors other than national government
  • Trade union
  • Works council
Thresholds
No, applicable in all circumstances
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