We frequently hear of a business that has been sold to another, often larger business. This can raise questions for the employees, how will they be affected?

Government statistics indicate that about two million people are in this situation each year.

T.U.P.E. stands for Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations.

The purpose of T.U.P.E. is to protect employees when this happens. There have been changes to T.U.P.E. law in previous years and it can be complicated in some cases.

When the identity of the employer changes, T.U.P.E. will apply if employee’s jobs transfer to the new employer (redundancy because of the transfer is not legal, but redundancy because the ex- employer is insolvent could be legal). If the ex-employer is insolvent, some other liabilities and payments may not transfer.

Some key points are:

   Employee's jobs usually transfer to the new company, exceptions can be if they're made redundant or if the business is insolvent

   Employment terms and conditions transfer

   Continuity of employment is maintained

   Any failures of the previous employer to observe employees' rights (so employees could make a claim for discrimination against the new employer, even if it took place before the transfer)

   Holiday entitlement

   Any collective agreements previously made

Before a transfer takes place, the employer must inform and consult with the employees, this will be with representatives if there is no trade union, or directly with the employees. Businesses that employ fewer than ten employees can choose to consult directly with the workforce instead of via representatives, but only if there is no recognised trade union at the workplace.

It would be a breach of contract if the new employer doesn’t meet the terms of the employment contract.

If the employer knows an employee is transferring to another company, they can’t normally change the employee’s terms and conditions to make them the same as those of the new company – even if the employee agrees to the change. Employers can make changes if the employee’s existing contract allows for those changes, but the transfer itself can’t be the reason for change.

The new employer can change an employee’s terms and conditions if the reason is an ‘economic, technical or organisational reason’ involving changes in the workforce or workplace, such as a result of redundancies or a move from a managerial to a non-managerial position. The employee needs to agree to this change.

If you have been transferred to a new employer you should make sure you get an up-to-date written statement of employment, giving the name of the new employer and saying that your terms and conditions haven’t changed.

You might get a P45 if the employer’s tax records are being updated.


Your new employer can’t make you redundant just because you were transferred from another employer.

The new employer can consult about redundancies before the transfer if the old employer agrees.

If you are made redundant for an ‘economic, organisational or technical’ reason’ which involves changes to the workforce, you may be entitled to a redundancy payment. These reasons can be difficult for an employer to establish

Information about employees during transfers

An employer must provide the new employer with information about employees. This normally includes:



   Main details of employment

   Disciplinary action taken against employees in the last two years

   Any grievances raised by an employee in the last two years

   Any legal action taken by an employee against and employer in the last two years

   Any potential legal action the employer thinks an employee might raise

This information has to be provided at least two weeks before the transfer and should help the new employer understand employees’ rights and their duties.

As you can see, this can be a complicated process, please contact us for advice if you require for this or any other employment situation.


Nicky Ackerley BA(Hons)

Nicky is the owner of HR Support Consultancy. She has a BA(Hons) in Business Studies, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has been a practising HR manager for more than 20 years. HR Support Consultancy has provided the BVNA Members Advisory Service (formerly known as the Industrial Relations Service) since it began in 2002.

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 33 • September 2018

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 33 • September 2018