The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE 2006) is the main piece of legislation governing the transfer of an undertaking, or part of one, from one party to another. (A list of relevant legislation is given at the end of these Q&As.)
The regulations are designed to protect the rights of the employees being transferred, enabling them to enjoy the same terms and conditions, with continuity of employment, as before. Without this kind of legal protection for employees, their employment contracts would automatically end when the business changed hands. Whether to keep the ex-employees, and on what terms, would be at the complete discretion of the transferee.
In 2014 certain amendments to TUPE came into force under the Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014. None of the 2014 amendments apply to Northern Ireland.
Both the 1981 and 2006 TUPE regulations were introduced to comply with relevant EC Directives. There have been various amendments to the UK regulations and a great deal of case law.