Myth – Changing Terms & Conditions after TUPE

So many times I hear employer’s state they have a right to change employee’s terms & conditions of employment after 1 or 2 year’s following a TUPE transfer – well actually “no you can’t”.

TUPE stands for “Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)” and the purpose of the Regulations is to protect employee’s terms & conditions of employment following a transfer of an undertaking, therefore, there is no timeline attached to this allowing changes to be made.

An employer can make a change to terms and conditions of employment if there is an ETO reason (Economical, Technical or Organisational) which must entail a change in the workforce,  usually a reduction in the headcount. Additionally a change can be made for a reason that is not connected with the transfer, however, no changes can be made unilaterally without incorporating a risk of breach of contract, unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal.

The obligations contained within a collective agreement also transfer where there is a relevant  transfer, however the amended TUPE Regulations limit this to 31st January 2014, any changes made after this date do not have to be recognised by the transferee (new owner) as they would not have been party to such agreement.

In reality as time passes and a business goes through change there is less chance of a claim arising in connection with TUPE.

Note: Any changes made to terms & condition’s of employment, even where there is an ETO reason must be with agreement from an employee and should be managed in a fair and reasonable manner, even if there is a clause in the contract allowing for change.

If you need advice or project management of a TUPE transfer, contact Jude Read-HR Consultancy, (01455 231982) to discuss how we can help.

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