26 Jan TUPE Transfers
By Jannine Smart
January 26th 2016
B2P Outsourced Human Resources Consultancy – offers advice on TUPE Transfers.
TUPE Transfers – Is 2016 time for change?
At B2P, we’ve become increasingly aware how the absence of documented employment conditions (contractual agreements, policies and processes etc.,) can significantly, and detrimentally impact the TUPE* process (*Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) 2006 Regulations).
It seems like it’s almost become ‘the norm’ to rely on ‘implied terms’ and ‘custom and practice’ agreements; this not only adds complexity and challenge to the process but, very importantly, negatively impacts those employees who have unfortunately found themselves in the middle of an already complicated process.
Do we care? Well we should…
successful TUPE transfers are based on having a robust communication plan for those employees affected by the transfer. Gaining their trust will contribute to overall employee engagement, which is critical at a time when sensitive and difficult commercial decisions need to be made.
On reflection, however, we do appreciate that the TUPE process can be something of a labyrinth, especially where other commercially driven events may be running in parallel; an example of this is the election of an employee representative forum, recruitment and/or redundancy programmes.
So when does TUPE apply?
TUPE can apply to a range of scenarios (where it is common to acquire new employees), the main two being:
- Business Transfer: An ‘economic entity’ or ownership changes – all or part of a business or trade is sold;
- Service Provision Change: Service is contracted out (outsourced), brought in-house, re-tendered, or a change in Contractors providing the service.
The purpose of these Regulations is to:-
“Preserve employees’ terms and conditions when a business or undertaking, or part of one, is transferred to a new employer”.
TUPE has been designed to protect employees under law against unfair treatment as a result of their transfer, protecting against unfair dismissal and changes to terms and conditions.
The key to any transfer is that the process and all communications are open, timely and transparent, therefore at B2P we would recommend you consider the following when preparing for a TUPE transfer:
- Engage all work-streams at Request for Information (RFI) stage.
- Set a minimum period for consultation prior to transfer.
- Agree HR Project Plan (include key milestones and contingency).
- Engage or notify Employee Representative Forum / Trade Union.
- Identify in-scope employees (test scenarios).
- Plan communication strategy (internal and external).
- Advance planning of other processes that may be running in parallel.
- Ensure that all contractual agreements and relevant policies and processes are up-to-date.
If TUPE is on your radar, whether you are the ‘transferor’ or the ‘transferee’, we can support you through the process. Call us today for an initial discussion.