Under changes being made to TUPE, employers will be able to renegotiate employee benefits one year after they have been transferred to the business.
Under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) regulations that are currently in place, the terms and conditions of an employee’s contract are protected and are not generally open for changes to be made. TUPE protections are in place to ensure that staff members do not suffer in any way when a transfer takes place, and also detail the rules that the old and new businesses must follow.
However, the Government’s changes will see employers entitled to make changes so long as they are “no less favourable” for the employees concerned.
The Department of Business of Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced the changes to TUPE following a consultation on TUPE reforms, saying that it was hoped the process of employee transfer between businesses would be made “easier, fairer and more effective” as a result.
If employees have terms and conditions provided for in collective agreements, the changes will mean that only those in existence at the time of the transfer will be applicable. Changes to the collective agreement that are made at a later date will not bind the new employer. If the place of work changes following a transfer, redundancies will not automatically be unfair under the new changes.
A BIS spokesperson told HR Magazine: “This means that, as a starting point, businesses will not face possible unfair dismissal claims simply because of a change in location of the workplace.”
Businesses that have less than 10 employees will also be permitted to inform and consult employees directly in the absence of a recognised trade union under the changes.
Jo Swinson, Employment Relations Minister, said: “By making these changes we will clear out the cobwebs in some of the rules which will give businesses more clarity about conducting transfers.”
The changes will be presented to Parliament in December of this year.