Employment law 2014 preview: TUPE
We begin the year with the changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE), which came into force on 31 January (subject to a couple of provisions which will not take effect immediately).
While less radical than originally proposed, the changes allow for a bit more flexibility, removing some legal obstacles to the everyday operation of TUPE, such as the changes on redundancy consultation. We also have some helpful changes: post-transfer changes to location can amount to an ‘economic, technical or organisational reason entailing changes in the workforce’ (an ETO reason) so that redundancies due to a simple change of location will not be automatically unfair.
However, the impact of other changes is not fully apparent at present. For transfers before 31 January 2014, the protective provisions for dismissals or changes to terms apply if the sole or principal reason for the relevant action is either the transfer itself or in connection with the transfer (unless, in the latter case, it is an economic, technical or organisational reason entailing changes in the workforce). Now, the two distinct concepts of the ‘transfer itself’ and ‘in connection with the transfer’ have been replaced by a new single concept of ‘the transfer’…
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This was the finding of the High Court following an appeal by the losing party from a master’s decision that relief should be granted.