What is TUPE?

TUPE is the abbreviated name given to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.

The legislation governs the situation in which an employee’s employment contract is transferred from one company to another. This is most commonly associated with a takeover of one company or another.

If you are an employer and unsure of your legal obligations under TUPE law, or an employee that feels they have been unfairly dismissed after a company takeover, you need to know the law.

What does TUPE law actually mean?

Essentially, a new employment contract is formed in a TUPE situation. The TUPE legislation allows the employer to transfer the rights and terms and conditions of the original contract to their new job.

TUPE law is practised by employment law solicitors who can offer legal advice to ensure that in such circumstances any rights you have accrued in your previous contract are transferred to your new job.

The effect is that all your original terms and conditions must form part of your new agreement. Your employer is obliged to inform you of any changes to the terms or conditions which may affect you.

The rules under TUPE essentially say that the new employer must take on all contracts and employees, not just some and not others. The employer must take over all rights and obligations except those deemed criminal.

Dismissal under TUPE law

You cannot be dismissed because of the transfer of your employment, unless the reason is:

  • Economic
  • Technical
  • Organisational

 If you have been dismissed or the conditions of your employment have worsened in circumstances following the transfer of your employment to another employer, then you may have a case under TUPE legislation.

This will allow you to terminate your employment, and have your solicitor make a claim for unfair dismissal. The TUPE legislation also means that the period of employment is not broken by the transfer.

Making a claim

You can make a claim to an employment tribunal via your solicitor if you have been dismissed or have resigned in circumstances in which you considered you were entitled to because of the transfer of your contract.

You must make your claim within three months of the date of your employment ending. Your solicitor should advise you against whom to bring your claim.

The rules surrounding TUPE are complex, and a specialist employment law solicitor will be best placed to give legal advice on whether your situation applies to TUPE and what your rights are. If you are a business owner, knowledge and awareness of TUPE is essential to avoid issues with employees following a change in your business make up or even a sale.

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