TUPE Employment Rights for Employees Explained
When a business changes owners, either through a merger or if there is a service provision change, TUPE regulations protect your rights as an employee.
TUPE refers to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, and this applies to employees of businesses in the UK.
It’s a complex piece of legislation and sometimes employers can neglect this area, leaving you concerned about the terms of your contractual and employment rights.
For free initial legal advice on TUPE get in touch with our Employment Law Solicitors.
What are TUPE Regulations?
The TUPE regulations were introduced into UK law under the terms of the European Acquired Rights Directive, in order to protect employees in the event of a change of employer, or when there is a change to the service that the business provides.
The aim is to protect certain aspects of your employment, such as:
- Protection from dismissal by reason of the transfer
- Protecting existing terms and conditions of your employment contract
- Creating an obligation to inform and consult you when there is a proposed transfer
Having this kind of protection is vital, as, without it, your employer could dismiss you whilst avoiding any legal implications.
Types of Transfer Protected under TUPE
There are two types of transfer protected under TUPE regulations:
- Business Transfers – where a business or part of a business moves from one employer to another. This can include mergers. The identity of the employer must change to be protected under TUPE
- Service Provision Changes – when a service provided in-house (e.g. workplace catering) is awarded to a contractor, or when a contract ends and is given to a new contractor
TUPE Legal Implications
When TUPE applies, whoever your new employers are, they take on the responsibility towards you as the employee.
This means that the employment contract you had with your previous employer automatically transfers to your new employer. This includes liabilities, so any claims made against the former employers, such as an unfair dismissal claim, will now be the responsibility of the new employers.
Obligations after the transfer include:
- Current terms and conditions of employment
- Continuity of service
- Redundancy payments, both statutory and contractual
- Arrears of pay, holiday pay and sick pay and any accrued holiday entitlement
- Liabilities accruing prior to the date of transfer under employment protection legislation, including liability for unfair dismissal and workplace discrimination
- The terms of any collective agreement incorporated into the employment contract
- Some other existing liabilities that are non-employment-related, such as the old employer’s liability for other wrongdoings known as a tort (e.g. personal injury)
- Share options that will be lost and that should be compensated by an equivalent provision or payment
- Similar private medical insurance and health insurance
- Indemnities under employer’s liability insurance
The Right to Be Consulted
You and anyone representing you have the right to be informed or consulted when a transfer is proposed. You should be told of the date of transfer, the reason for it, and the legal, social and economic implications of the proposed transfers on you and your fellow employees.
Employees Working Abroad
Employees of a UK business who are based outside the UK could still be protected by TUPE.
If a business has an ‘undertaking’ in the UK (e.g. building, assets, fixtures and fittings, employees) but an employee spends most of the working week outside the UK, it’s likely they’re still protected.
In-service provision changes, there must be an organised group of employees in England, Scotland or Wales to qualify for TUPE protection.
Our Employment Solicitors have considerable expertise in TUPE related matters. We can review your situation, inform you of your rights as an employee and provide timely and pragmatic assistance.
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