How to handle a TUPE process

The purpose of TUPE is to protect employees if the business in which they are employed changes hands. The idea behind this process is to move employees and any liabilities associated with them from the old employer to the new employer by operation of law. The TUPE regulations protect the employees’ rights when they transfer to the new employer.

What does TUPE stand for?

TUPE stands for the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations.

When does a TUPE transfer take place?

A TUPE transfer can happen when an organisation, or part of it, is transferred from one employer to another. Alternatively it can be when a service is transferred to a new provider.

The size of the company doesn’t matter however the TUPE applies if the part of the organisation that’s transferring is in the UK.

What are the stages of the TUPE process?

There are three main stages of a TUPE process. We will explain briefly what these are below:

Before the transfer 

  • You should identify all risks and opportunities relating to the transfer. Consider the benefits it could bring and what it might achieve for the Company and affected staff.
  • Consider whether any measures may be required to make the services work efficiently and factor this in.
  • Consider whether there will be anyone at risk of redundancy after the transfer has taken place.
  • Build a timeline over which the transfer is to be conducted.
  • Consult with all employees.

Preparation for the transfer 

  • You must inform and consult directly with the affected employees via employee representatives, trade unions or individual employees.
  • Engage with employees by holding meetings with them to find out if there are any issues.
  • Set out the process and timescale for carrying out consultation and publish.
  • Make sure the employees have been informed about the proposed date of the transfer and the reason for it.
  • Consider how to deal with any terms and conditions which cannot be continued after the transfer.
  • Consider ways to minimise the risk of redundancy.
  • Prepare payroll and HR systems for the transferring of employees.
  • Check pension requirements and seek advice where appropriate.
  • Organise communication messages, FAQ sheet for employees for the day of transfer.
  • Inform customers about the transfer and any impact this may have on the services they receive.

After the transfer 

  • Continue to consult with any representatives or employees where potential redundancies may take place.
  • If there are no redundancies proposed then continue to engage with employees to ensure that morale is preserved and they are successfully integrated into the new company.
  • Liaise with customers to ensure the service levels are being maintained.

There are a number of additional HR issues that may arise during a TUPE process and we can provide the relevant advice in this situation. Please get in touch if you are interested in our HR support services.