What is the TUPE process and how does it work?

TUPE is an acronym for the 1981 Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations.

It ensures that the terms and conditions of employment are retained when your business or undertaking is transferred from one employer to another.

This enables engagement and involvement – we care about involving people in our planning and decision making.

One important effect that TUPE has is that when an undertaking is transferred from one employer to another, the employees are transferred too, and employed under the same terms and conditions as before.

TUPE also gives the employees the right to be informed about the transfer, and anything else that the old or new employer does that affects their employment.

What kinds of transfers are regulated by TUPE?

The kinds of transfers that are regulated by TUPE include: full or part sale or transfer of a sole trader’s business or partnership; acquisition of the assets of a business or part of a business; two companies closing down and forming a third in their place; or the transfer of a contract in instances where this amounts to the transfer of a business.

What kind of transfers aren’t covered by TUPE?

Instances that are not covered by TUPE include: transfers involving the takeover of shares only; transfers of assets that does not amount to the business itself; transfers of contract that do not involve the business itself; and any transfers of undertakings outside the UK.

What TUPE means for employers

Under TUPE, the new employer is obliged to take on all of the employees from the previous employer. He or she is also obliged to take over all of the conditions of employment from the previous contract (including any union representation), as well as informing and consulting with the employees or their representatives.

What TUPE means for employees

TUPE provides employees who claim to have been unfairly dismissed the right to an employment tribunal. Additionally, any employee who believes their terms of employment have been worsened as a result of a transfer under TUPE has the right to end their contract and claim unfair dismissal via an employment tribunal. This, in turn, may lead to redundancy compensation.

Dismissal in a transfer under TUPE will be deemed unfair unless the employer can provide evidence that there is a valid reason (either economical, organisational or technical) justifying dismissal. In cases where dismissal is ruled to have been reasonable, employees may still be granted to redundancy compensation.

Employees of the previous employer are automatically transferred to the new one after the transfer, unless they make it known that they object to the transfer, in which case their termination is classed as a resignation rather than a dismissal.

New terms

The new employer should provide a statement of terms and conditions within four weeks and if the conditions are deemed to have been worsened, employees may be entitled to an unfair dismissal claim.

Being clear about conditions is a key part of improvement and development, which is important to us as we care about striving to be the best.