But should it?
The answer is no, it shouldn’t. In truth, this is one of the more settled areas of employment law and explained clearly, the regulations are relatively straight forward.
The 1981 TUPE Regulations introduced the automatic transfer principle which safeguards certain employee rights on the transfer of a business. These rights, along with employer liabilities and obligations, pass from the former owner of the business to the new owner.
Think of it like a balloon passing from one person to another and the employees being a basket tied to the balloon.
TUPE also provides protection for employees against dismissal in connection with a relevant transfer and obliges employers to inform and consult with representatives of the potentially transferring employees prior to a business transfer.
In 2006 the scope of the TUPE Regulations was extended to include service provision changes – circumstances where a business outsources a service (a), changes the provider of an outsourced service (b), or brings an outsourced service back in house (c).
Where a service provision change occurs, the contracts of employees who are organised as a group or a team to carry out the service concerned transfer from the business to the contractor (a), between contractors (b), or from the contractor to the business (c).
Various changes were made to TUPE throughout 2014 however these are too boring to be of interest to anyone other than employment lawyers. Ultimately, they do not affect the basic position above.
Despite its capacity for arousing fear and confusion, TUPE has growing relevance and its potential application requires considering in relation to any commercial transaction.
Fortunately, at Short Richardson & Forth Ltd we have considerable experience in TUPE matters (in fact, we quite like it). We regularly advise on TUPE implications in corporate transactions and provide support to HR and managers throughout the TUPE process and beyond. So, if you have a potential TUPE matter, or would like some guidance in this area, please do not hesitate to get in touch.