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Changes to the TUPE regulations now in effect

03 Feb 2014

Changes to the legislation governing the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations – known as TUPE – came into effect in last week.

With the intention of making the process of transferring business ownership fairer and more effective, the Government has amended the regulations which aim to protect employees’ terms and conditions of employment during such a transfer.

Key changes are that redundancy consultation can now take place between employees and the new employer, before the transfer has taken place. In addition, employers will now be able to renegotiate changes to collective agreements one year after a business transfer, so long as the change is not less favourable for an employee.

The Government has called the changes ‘good news for employers and staff’, hoping that the measures will help to reduce bureaucracy.

However, Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady has responded: ‘Watering down the TUPE law means hundreds of thousands of vulnerable workers around the UK will lose out on vital protections at work’.

Since this area of law is governed by European legislation – the Acquired Rights Directive 2001 – there could be some question over whether these amendments comply. If this is the case, employees may be able to challenge employers at the European Court of Justice should they find a transfer unfavourable.