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Sarah Everton
Head of Employment Law
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TUPE – business transfers and outsourcing

Buying or selling a business?

Do you know your obligations to staff?

If you are buying or selling the whole or part of a business and there are employees involved, or you are outsourcing, you will need to take account of the provisions of TUPE before making any changes concerning your workforce.

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations – known as TUPE – have been in force for over 30 years. It is a highly technical area of law and is changing through case law and legislation all the time.

Under TUPE, the new owner automatically inherits all of the employees and is obliged to honour the existing terms and conditions in their employment contracts, including pay. Employees have a right to be consulted about the transfer and any proposed changes.

Both the old and new owners have to give prescribed information about the transfer and its implications to employees and trade union representatives. Failure to do so can be very expensive as an employment tribunal can award compensation to each affected employee.

Employers need to tread carefully with the new work force, as it is easy to get it wrong. Employees can object to the transfer and end their contracts early. If the transfer affects their contractual terms they could resign and claim wrongful dismissal. If employees are dismissed within a qualifying period of the transfer, you could face a tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.

If you are involved in a transaction that may be subject to TUPE, Myers & Co employment law experts can advise and guide you through the process to make the transfer as smooth as possible.

Our EmployerAssist service could provide you with further peace of mind, giving you a dedicated helpline to our employment law specialists, a bespoke annual audit, access to our database of contracts and policies and regular updates at a fixed monthly cost.

Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, our specialist employment solicitors offer independent legal advice and representation on all types of employment law problems.  To find out more, contact us on 01782 577000.

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