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TUPE gets easier for employers

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The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (or TUPE) can be one of the most troublesome pieces of legislation faced by employers and it is something which has been in the sights of the government for some time.

The government has now published it’s response to its consultation on TUPE and, the response highlights a number of key changes aimed at removing unfair legal risks to employers and reducing the bureaucracy involved in transfers.

Below are some of the TUPE key changes that should make life easier:

  • You will be able to renegotiate the terms agreed from collective agreements one year after transfer, provided those changes are no less favourable to your staff;
  • You will be able to make redundancies where a workplace is changed for economic, technical or organisational reasons, thus preventing genuine place of work redundancies from being automatically unfair;
  • For there to be a TUPE service provision change, the service provision has to be “fundamentally or essentially the same” as it was prior to the transfer;
  • Microbusinesses will be able to inform and consult directly with employees;
  • In some circumstances, a TUPE consultation will satisfy collective redundancy consultation rules.

However, two key areas will not be changed:

  • the transferor will still be obliged to provide employee liability information; however they would be able to do so within 28 days.
  • a ‘service provision change’ will still equate to a TUPE transfer

Whilst the Government’s Response does not indicate a proposed implementation date, the Department for Business Innovation & Skills has indicated this might be as early as January 2014.

Some employers may be disappointed that the government’s proposed reforms are not nearly as far reaching as it’s intial sound-bites might have led us to believe, however, TUPE is a piece of legislation which originates from European law and, as such, the government is limited in what it can change.

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