On 17 January 2013 a government consultation paper on a number of proposed changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (the TUPE Regulations) was opened and will close on 11 April 2013.
The government’s aim is to remove unnecessary ‘gold plating’, make TUPE easier to understand, and make business transfers easier and less burdensome for employers.
Notably, one of the proposed changes includes the removal of ‘service provision changes’ from the definition of a ‘relevant transfer’.
Other significant proposals include:
- Removal of the requirement for the transferor to provide the transferee with employee liability information 14 days before a relevant transfer. De-regulatory measures are to be considered as an alternative which could leave the exchange of information to be resolved between the parties. The government has stated that such de-regulatory measures would be supported by an amendment to the legislation which makes it clear that transferors should disclose any information to the transferee that is necessary to assist both parties to comply with their duties under TUPE. In practice, this might actually require transferors to disclose something similar to employee liability information at an earlier stage than the current law requires.
- Changing the wording of provisions which restrict changes to terms, give protection against dismissal and give the right to resign in response to a substantial change in working conditions so that these more closely reflect recent case law from the European Court of Justice.
- Providing that the phrase ‘entailing changes in the workforce’ includes changes to the workforce's location.
- Enabling the transferee to consult with the transferring employees on collective redundancies prior to the transfer.
The government has committed to publishing its response within 12 weeks of the consultation closing and, subject to support for the changes following the consultation process, will implement the changes in October 2013. However, the government accepts that the most significant proposed change, the removal of ‘service provision change’, is likely to require a longer lead-in period and it is also consulting about how long this period should be.
Find more information here.