August 19, 2014

New business transfers guidance launched

New guidance on employees’ rights in the transfer of construction and other businesses has been published to help employers.

Employment relations organisation Acas issued the guidance to help clarify the Transfer of Undertakings Regulations, or TUPE, as they are more usually known.

Research has shown that one in eight workplaces in Britain has gone through some kind of business transfer, with such transfers affecting up to two million employees each year.

Acas chief executive Anne Sharp said: “TUPE is often seen as complicated but employers need to get to grips with the detail if they decide to buy a business or take on work being carried out by others”.

“TUPE can affect all businesses and organisations, whatever their size or sector. One of our key messages is that you should involve employees early to minimise concerns and potential problems further down the track”.

The Acas guidance, titled ‘Handling TUPE Transfers’, includes advice on when TUPE applies and also on information and consultation requirements. Acas’ top tips for managing business transfers include:

  • consult as extensively as possible;
  • make sure contract information is up to date and reflects reality;
  • set up a employee forum and dedicate a management team to running the transfer; and
  • seek expert advice from legal advisers or Acas if you are unsure about the TUPE process.

One new measure under TUPE which took effect on 31 July affects micro businesses (businesses that employ fewer than ten people). Under the new rules, they may inform and consult directly with each employee who is affected by a business transfer rather than having to elect and consult with representatives.

Palmers’ employment law team can provide expert guidance on all aspects of the TUPE regulations and guide employers through  business transfers, including the complex consultation obligations.

Our HR package service also gives employers access to helpline support for a fixed fee and many regularly updated sample employment policies and documents, such as employment contracts.

For more information about our employment law services or our HR package, please visit our website or contact Lara Murray.