Workplace expert, Acas, has launched new guidance to help the thousands of employers each year that deal with TUPE law when their businesses change hands to a new owner.
The Transfer of Undertakings Regulations, or TUPE as they are commonly known, protect employees’ rights when the business or undertaking for which they work transfers to a new employer.
A study showed that one in eight workplaces in Britain had gone through some kind of business transfer, with transfers affecting up to two million employees each year. In 2013, the Acas helpline dealt with around 28,000 calls relating to TUPE.
Anne Sharp, Acas Chief Executive, said: “TUPE is often seen as complicated but employers need to get to grips with the detail if they decide to buy a business or take on work being carried out by others.
“If things go wrong the fall out can damage individuals and organisations. Our new guidance provides a clear overview of the requirements and helps people understand in straightforward and practical terms what they need to do.
“TUPE can affect all businesses and organisations, whatever their size or sector. One of our key messages is that you should involve employees early to minimise concerns and potential problems further down the track.”
Acas’ new guidance, Handling TUPE Transfers, includes advice on when TUPE applies, getting the process right, and information and consultation requirements.
Acas’ top tips for managing business transfers include:
- Consult as extensively as possible
- Engage with trade unions – they can make all the difference in how smoothly a transfer happens
- Make sure contract information is up to date and reflects reality
- Set up a employee forum and dedicate a management team to running the transfer and
- Seek advice from Acas and your legal advisers if you are unsure about the TUPE process or have further questions.
A good example of a successful smooth transition under TUPE is how Capgemini UK engages with their staff and trade unions to make outsourcing or business transfers work for both their employers and their employees.
Mick Dillon, Capgemini TUPE Manager said: “Capgemini UK has over 30 years experience of transferring more than 10,000 employees under TUPE. In that time we have built up a tried and trusted process, based on good practice. This has been refined over many transfers and is aimed at early dialogue with employees to provide reassurance, and deal with their understandable concerns.
“We have found that adhering to the principles of honesty and open communication with employees has resulted in successful transfers and engaged employees who have gone on to have successful careers with us and help us to grow our business.”
Chris Morrison, PCS Commercial Sector President said: “It should never be underestimated how stressful an enforced TUPE transfer is for employees. It’s really important that both incoming and exiting employers understand the need to talk to staff representatives as early as possible, as often as possible and as openly as possible. The dialogue goes a long way to calming nerves on the shop-floor and can often identify easy fixes and potential problems for incoming employers.”
Acas’ new guide, Handling Tupe Transfers, is available at www.acas.org.uk/tupe