There are two definitions of a TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations) transfer:
- Transfer of undertakings or businesses
TUPE will apply to the transfer of an undertaking or business situated in the UK immediately before the transfer. TUPE can also apply to the transfer of part of a business.
- Service provision changes
The definition of TUPE transfers extends specifically to cover the relationship between clients and the contractors who provide services for them.
The two definitions govern whether TUPE applies and some transfers will qualify both as a business transfer and a service provision change. Employers need to be fully aware of what potential risks and liabilities they may be taking on and how best to protect themselves.
When TUPE applies to a transfer, there is an automatic transfer of employees, as well as a number of right and liabilities, from the transferor to the transferee.
Businesses need to be careful when it comes to transfer-related changes to employees’ terms and conditions and dismissals, which could be deemed as automatically unfair. Both transferors and transferees must be fully aware of the various effects of a TUPE transfer on their workforce and obligations, particularly if they want to limit their exposure to employees’ employment tribunal claims.
The Regulations also place obligations on parties to inform and consult with affected employees. Failure to do this can lead to awards of up to 13 weeks’ salary per employee.
At Eric Robinson Solicitors we advise both transferors and transferees on TUPE provisions, helping them get the law right and avoid expensive employment tribunal litigation.