Legislation overview

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/246) (TUPE 2006) is the main piece of legislation governing the transfer of an undertaking, or part of one, to another. The regulations are designed to protect the rights of employees in a transfer situation enabling them to enjoy the same terms and conditions, with continuity of employment, as formerly. TUPE 2006 is often referred to as TUPE or the TUPE regulations. On 31 January 2014 certain amendments to TUPE came into force under the Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014. Other amendments came into force later in May and July 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 concerning transfers of undertakings. The main Directives are:

  • the Acquired Rights Directive (77/187/EC)
  • the Acquired Rights Directive (98/50/EC)
  • the Acquired Rights Amendment Directive (2001/23/EC).

There have been various amendments to the UK regulations and a great deal of case law.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published guidance on TUPE to cover developments since 2009, including the 2014 amendments. This guidance is for transfers that take place from 31 January 2014. The July 2009 guidance will be relevant for transfers that took place on or before 30 January 2014, but does not cover recent case law. Acas has also published guidance on the changes.

Some of the further statutes and regulations which have an effect on TUPE are:

  • The Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/2587)
  • The Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/1925)
  • Pensions Act 2004, especially sections 257 and 258
  • The Transfer of Employment (Pensions Protection) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/649)
  • The Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (not applicable to Northern Ireland).
For more information on the amendments to TUPE which came into force on 31 January 2014 see the relevant related Q&As and the related Q&A Where can I find a summary of the 2014 changes to TUPE?

Q: What would happen if an undertaking was transferred and there was no protection for employees?

Q: What is the effect of the TUPE Regulations?

Q: Which employer is the 'transferee' and which the 'transferor' in a TUPE transfer?

Q: What is the ETO defence under TUPE?

Q: Is it legally possible to vary employees' contractual terms in a TUPE context?

Q: How can an employer avoid TUPE altogether or at least minimise its impact?

Q: If an employer acquires all or part of a business that was insolvent what are the special rules that apply?

Q: Which transfers does TUPE apply to?

Q: Does TUPE apply to transfers of undertakings outside the United Kingdom?

Q: How does TUPE affect service provision changes?

Q: How does an employer tell if TUPE applies?

Q: An employer puts contracts out to tender for cleaning etc regularly and as a result, changes contractors periodically. The 'business' mainly consists of a few staff-does TUPE apply?

Q: Does TUPE apply if after a service provision change the service is now supplied by two (or more) service providers?

Q: Does TUPE apply if an employee moves from a single employer to a group of two (or more) employers, including the original employer?

Q: Does TUPE apply to transfers between suppliers of professional services?

Q: What situations involving outsourcing, re-tendering and insourcing are not a service provision change under TUPE?

Q: In a TUPE situation what information should be given by the transferor to the transferee concerning the transferor’s rights powers duties and liabilities towards any employees who are to transfer?

Q: Is there a service provision change if the organised grouping consists of a single employee?

Q: In a TUPE situation what information should be given by the transferor and the transferee to the employees affected?

Q: What are the obligations that arise under the Immigration Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 following a TUPE transfer?

Q: When should consultation regarding a transfer of an undertaking take place and who should be consulted?

Q: Who would be considered an 'appropriate representative' for the purposes of informing and consulting staff affected by transfer of an undertaking?

Q: What happens if an employer fails to comply with their duty to inform and consult employees affected by the transfer of an undertaking?

Q: Which employees do the TUPE regulations protect and what is an’ organised grouping’ of employees after a service provision change?

Q: Which rights and liabilities transfer to the 'new' employer under TUPE?

Q: Does the law permit the new owner of an undertaking to harmonise employees’ terms and conditions of employment after they have transferred?

Q: Can the new owner of an undertaking harmonise the terms and conditions of employment if the changes are to the benefit of the employees who have transferred?

Q: What approaches can the new owner of an undertaking take to harmonise the terms and conditions of employment of employees who have transferred?

Q: Is it possible to impose relocation of employees following the transfer of an undertaking?

Q: Is it possible to dismiss employees following the transfer of an undertaking if there is an ETO reason?

Q: Can an ‘old’ employer dismiss employees in anticipation of a TUPE transfer and rely on the ‘new’ employer’s ETO reasons?

Q: Is it correct that occupational pensions do not transfer under TUPE?

Q: Where can I find a summary of the 2014 changes to TUPE?

Q: Are there any future developments expected in the area of transfers of undertakings?

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