TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006) is an important piece of legislation which will apply in all cases where an employer changes following a transfer of an ‘undertaking’. The terms and conditions of an employee are preserved in such cases and the law sets obligations upon employers who are considering a transfer to inform and consult with employee representatives about the planned transfer.
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It is not possible for an employer to avoid their responsibilities under TUPE by dismissing employees shortly before the transfer as this would be deemed to be automatically unfair.
TUPE provides that employees are treated as if the new employer is essentially the same as the previous employer and preserves the terms and conditions in place prior to the transfer.
Information and Consultation
TUPE requires employers to provide information to and, consult with employee ‘representatives’, such representatives to be those selected either by reference to trade union representatives or by the appointment of elected representatives.
Failure to inform or consult can be brought up by an employee whose terms and conditions are transferred under TUPE within three months of the transfer. An employment tribunal can make an award of up to 13 weeks’ pay per employee for a failure to inform and consult.
It is imperative that you receive the proper advice and assistance if you are considering a transfer of your business or part of it, or if you are taking over any ‘undertaking’ which might be affected under TUPE.