What is TUPE?
TUPE stands for Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment). Generally, this occurs when a business has been sold to another company and the employees jobs are transferred over to the new company. TUPE protects employees’ rights as well as the terms and conditions in their contract when transferred over.
When TUPE is enforced, employees must receive a documented explanation of the situation from the union or staff representative, detailing why and how the transfer of undertakings will affect them.
It can be a confusing time when the business changes hands, as many are unsure of what to expect or what things will change or stay the same. TUPE is there to act as a safeguard for employees, ensuring their contracts, holiday entitlement and previous agreements are kept. This makes the transfer as smooth as possible.
As an employee, you can refuse to be transferred over and will effectively resign. You won’t need to give the usual month’s notice and instead can simply let your employer know before the transfer. If you are faced with worse working conditions at the new company, you can claim for unfair dismissal.
If you have any questions about TUPE, whether you’re an employee or director, speak to a lawyer specialising in employment law or contact ACAS, an advice service for both employees and employers. If you’re part of a union, they should also be able to offer advice on TUPE and other employment queries.
For more information and a video on employee rights in insolvency, click here.
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Please note that the guide was mostly written pre Covid-19 and there have been some changes to insolvency legislation that limits creditors actions and relaxes rules regarding wrongful trading. A new 20 day moratorium for distressed businesses has also been introduced.