Employment Rights – TUPE

An Introduction

On 6 April 2006, the revised Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (called ‘the TUPE Regulations’ in this guidance) came into force.1 The box at the end of this Section summarises the main changes to the previous 1981 TUPE Regulations which the revised 2006 Regulations introduced.

These Regulations provide employment rights to employees when their employer changes as a result of a transfer of an undertaking. They implement the European Community Acquired Rights Directive (77/187/EEC, as amended by Directive 98/50 EC and consolidated in 2001/23/EC). This document provides guidance to employees, employers and their representatives in order to help them understand the Regulations and to help parties comply with their legal requirements. It gives general guidance only and should not be regarded as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

The guidance in this publication applies equally to men and women but – for simplicity – the masculine pronoun is used throughout.

Other rights already conferred by existing employment legislation are not affected by the Regulations and are explained in other documents in guidance material produced by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). This material can be found on the BERR’s website at www.berr.gov.uk/employment/index.html and some of the most relevant pieces of guidance are listed at the end of this document.

If, when you have read this document, you have any questions about the Regulations, you should contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) on 08457 47 47 47 or at www.acas.org.uk.

Main Changes made in the 2006 TUPE Regulations

The 2006 Regulations introduced :

  • a widening of the scope of the Regulations to cover cases where services are outsourced, insourced or assigned by a client to a new contractor (described as “service provision changes”);
  • a new duty on the old transferor employer to supply information about the transferring employees to the new transferee employer (by providing what is described as “employee liability information”);
  • special provisions making it easier for insolvent businesses to be transferred to new employers;
  • provisions which clarify the ability of employers and employees to agree to vary contracts of employment in circumstances where a relevant transfer occurs;
  • provisions which clarify the circumstances under which it is unfair for employers to dismiss employees for reasons connected with a relevant transfer.
  • The rights and obligations in the 1981 Regulations remain in place, though the 2006 Regulations contain revised wording at some points to make their meaning clearer, as well as reflecting developments in case law since 1981.
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