What Does TUPE Mean for Employees?


TUPE stands for Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment). These regulations are part of employment law in England and Wales. The regulations were bought in to protect your job if the company you work for is sold or outsources part of its work.

If the company you work for is being sold, you’re probably worried about your future job security. TUPE should mean that you have protection, but there are some situations where this may not be the case.

If you’re worried that you aren’t getting the protection you should under TUPE, our Employment Lawyers can help you find out where you stand legally. Ask if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Call us on 0808 258 3531 or request a callback

How Does TUPE Work for Employees?

TUPE is there to protect employees when a business is sold. TUPE can also apply if two businesses merge. It’s a legal process that transfers employees and all other liabilities to the new owner.

TUPE applies to businesses of all sizes and usually happens when:

  • The business is sold
  • Services are outsourced
  • Services are bought back in-house that were previously outsourced

As an employee this means that your length of service is continued into the new business and your terms and conditions of employment must remain the same.

Your new (or existing) employer cannot dismiss you because of a TUPE Transfer. If they do, that’s automatic unfair dismissal. But there are some reasons why they could legally make you redundant after a TUPE transfer. They can use any of the following reasons:

  • Economic
  • Organisational
  • Technical

Redundancies could happen before or after the TUPE transfer because of these three reasons, so although TUPE regulations are there to protect you, you could still be made redundant.

Your employer must follow the consultation process correctly and select employees fairly if they are making redundancies to get their business ready for sale.

If you think your employer has not followed the correct procedure or they’ve made you redundant because of TUPE, you may have a claim. Call our Employment Lawyers to find out where you stand.

Under the TUPE regulations, when a new employer takes over a business, they have to:

  • Keep your terms and conditions of employment the same as before
  • Keep your length of service the same, so you have continuous employment
  • Keep your holiday entitlement the same
  • Honour any union recognition collective agreements which may be relevant to your terms and conditions of employment

How Should Your Employer Inform You?

If you are going to be affected by TUPE, your employer has to follow certain procedures and one of these processes is about how they consult with you. They should do this through either Trade Union reps or employee representatives. Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees don’t need to do this, they can inform and consult individual workers directly.

You should get all this information in writing and it should include explanations of:

  • When the TUPE transfer is happening
  • The reasons for the TUPE transfer
  • How the transfer will affect them and if there’ll be any redundancies
  • Details of any agency staff and the work they do

This process is all part of your employer following the correct TUPE procedures.

Positive Changes

Your new employer could decide to make positive changes under TUPE. This could include terms and conditions, but any changes to terms and conditions still need to be made in a lawful way. Harmonisation is not in itself a good reason to change contract terms.

How Simpson Millar Can Help You

We offer free initial advice and one of our Employment Lawyers can review what’ happened during the TUPE transfer and tell you if you have a claim or not. We’re experts in TUPE claims and can give you clear legal advice about your next steps.

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