TUPE reforms to changing contractual terms and conditions
Following a TUPE transfer, working out when, how and whether changes can be made to terms and conditions is seldom straightforward.
It's always a good idea to get professional advice where appropriate, not least because the recent reforms to TUPE regulations have affected this area of the legislation.
Altering terms and conditions under TUPE - what's changed?
As before, if the sole or principal reason that changes to an employee's terms and conditions is the transfer, then they will be void.
Changes 'connected to the transfer' were previously void too - but this provision has now been removed.
There are still circumstances in which changes are valid: for example, if there is a 'economic, technical or organisational (ETO) reason entailing changes in the workforce', and employer and employee have agreed the change.
Sometimes the terms of the contract allow employers to make a change irrespective of the transfer. This could include a change brought about by an order from a new client.
Under the new rules, a change of workplace location may now also be considered a fair ETO reason. Before, it was deemed to be automatically unfair.
Employers should consult and seek agreement about any changes, or explain in writing why points raised cannot be carried forward. Legal advice is recommended.
Acas publications and services
Detailed information on all of the recent TUPE reforms, including those dealing with variation of contracts, is available in the Acas leaflet TUPE changes 2014 [161kb].
In the coming weeks, Acas will be following this up with a full guide on TUPE and how to manage the process effectively.
You can get free support and advice on TUPE and a range of employment relations issues through the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100.
Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.
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