Workplace Rights: Tinkering with Tupe

Changes are being made this month to Tupe - the law that protects employees' rights when the business in which they work changes hands. Here's how it'll affect you.

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Last Updated: 27 Jan 2014

Tupe stands for the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. The legislation was last revamped in 2006, when Labour made it apply more consistently to situations where businesses outsource activities such as catering and security or change their current service provider.

The present Government said that went further than EU law requires and was expected to abolish it, but in the end it decided not to. Ministers concluded that scrapping the rules on service provision changes would cause more difficulty and uncertainty than keeping them.

In other respects, the Government's latest amendments to Tupe should introduce welcome flexibility for employers, particularly where they need to change workers' terms and conditions or implement redundancies in a transfer scenario.

But while the overall package of reforms is pragmatic and helpful for businesses, it seems unlikely to resolve many of Tupe's inherent complexities or significantly reduce litigation in this area.

Michael Burd and James Davies, Lewis Silkin LLP solicitors, email: employment@lewissilkin.com.

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