New TUPE reforms make life easier for employers

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Changes to the law relating to business sales came into force on 31st January 2014. The government believes that the new changes to the transfer of undertaking legislation (TUPE) are likely to result in a 50% reduction in TUPE related claims. The amendments effectively make the Regulations more flexible, and allow employers greater freedom when they buy a business or move a contract from one business to another.

The changes mean that employers will now be able to renegotiate terms agreed in a collective agreement one year after transfer, provided that overall the change is no less favourable to the employee. In addition, dimissing employees will be easier as they will only be protected if the reason for the dismissal was the TUPE transfer. The amendments also include clarification that in order for TUPE to apply, the activities carried on after the service provision changes must be fundamentally or essentially the same as those carried on before the transfer.

Whilst the amendments make life a little easier for employers considering a business transfer, the amendments are complicated and technical and do not make the Regulations any less difficult to navigate, and employers should seek specialist advice when considering a business transfer of any kind.