TUPE Regulations and Transfers
The TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment)
Regulations 2006 apply in cases where the ownership of a business
The law surrounding changes to business ownership and TUPE can
be complex. There is often much confusion surrounding the takeover
of a business.
With a small number of exceptions, in the vast majority of cases
the change of business ownership will come under the umbrella of
TUPE. This is in keeping with the purpose of the European
directives in this area of law, which were designed to promote
better treatment for workers.
If the business you work for is in the process of transferring
ownership, it is important to establish quickly where you stand
with regard to job security and the terms and conditions of your
Changes to terms and conditions of employment
Employers' ability to vary terms of conditions before or after a
TUPE transfer are restricted by the TUPE regulations. Even if you
were to consent to changes to your terms and conditions, your
employer's right to make those changes are limited.
European Law protects employees by ensuring they cannot waive
certain important rights. If there are changes to your terms and
conditions of employment, they cannot be made purely because of the
transfer of the business to new ownership.
However, the old employer and the new employer can vary terms
and conditions if those changes are not made solely as a result of
Economic Technical or Organisational (ETO) reasons for
An employer and employee can agree a variation in terms and
conditions if the sole or main reason is connected with the
transfer and is an ETO reason (Economic Technical or Organisational
reason) that entails changes in the workforce for a reason that is
not connected with the transfer.
This summary is very basic, but illustrates that this is a
complex and difficult area of law. If you are employed by a
business in the process of transferring ownership, and are
concerned about changes to your terms and conditions, contact our
team for advice.
The TUPE regulations also protect employees' rights in relation
to being dismissed as the result of a transfer of ownership. If you
work for a business where there is a transfer of ownership, both
the old and the new employer have to follow proper procedures in
order to dismiss staff where this happens as a result of the
Employees cannot simply be dismissed by either the old or the
new employer, where the sole or main reason is the transfer of
ownership - this would be regarded as unfair dismissal.
However, where there is an ETO reason (Economic Technical or
Organisational reason) for dismissal at the time of a transfer, it
is not automatically counted as unfair dismissal. The TUPE
regulations provide for such dismissals to be regarded as being by
reason of redundancy.
Do you need advice because the company you work for is changing
The rules around change of business ownership are complex, and
if they affect you, you may wish to consider taking advice from an
employment solicitor. Call us now on freephone 0800 422 0241 or complete our
contact form and we will get back to you.