TUPE is an acronym for ’Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981’.

The TUPE Regulations preserve employees' terms and conditions when a business or undertaking, or part of one, is transferred to a new employer.

TUPE introduces three concept into UK employment law:

When does TUPE apply?

TUPE applies to a “relevant transfer”, which means either or both of the following:

Share sales

TUPE does not apply to a transfer of shares.

Automatic transfer principle

Where there is a relevant transfer:

Changing terms of employment

The buyer takes on the transferring employees on their existing terms of employment, and can only make changes to their terms in limited circumstances.

Changes to terms of employment will be void if the sole or principal reason for the change is the transfer itself, unless either:

Protection against dismissal

Dismissals will be automatically unfair if the sole or principal reason for the dismissal is the transfer itself.  If, however, the reason is an ETO reason, then they will instead be only potentially unfair.

Obligation to inform and consult

Both the seller and the buyer must inform and consult with recognised trade unions or elected employee representatives in relation to any of their own employees who may be affected by the transfer or any measures taken in connection with it.  Certain information must be provided to the representatives long enough before the transfer to enable the seller to consult with them about it.

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