Transferring to a new employer - TUPE: employee rights

Transferring to a new employer

It's important to understand what happens before, during and after a TUPE transfer, as well as how your employer should inform and consult you.

Before the transfer happens

If you're transferring from one employer to another, your contract continues with your new employer. This is because your current employer is not ending your contract – it automatically transfers to the new employer on the transfer date.

Your current employer must provide your new employer with specific information about you. This is known as 'employee liability information' (ELI). 

Your current employer must give this information to your new employer at least 28 days before you transfer. 

Employee liability information includes:

  • your identity 
  • your age 
  • your terms and conditions of employment
  • any disciplinary and grievance records, or ongoing cases, from the last 2 years
  • any agreements between your employer and a trade union ('collective agreements') that affect your terms and conditions 
  • any claims related to your employment that you’ve made against your current employer in the last 2 years or that they believe you may make when you transfer 

Some employers may ask for extra information, to make sure the information provided is correct. For example, your national insurance number. 

If you do not want to transfer

If you do not want to transfer to the new employer, you can refuse, but you would usually have no rights to claim:

  • redundancy pay
  • unfair dismissal 

Before you make a decision, it’s a good idea to explore all your options. You might want to contact the Acas helpline or get legal advice.

If you decide you do not want to transfer, you’ll need to tell your current employer in writing. They will treat this as if you’re resigning and they’ll need to inform the new employer that you will not transfer.

It's a good idea to tell your employer early on in case there are other options for you.

Your current employer may decide to offer you an alternative job. If they do and you accept, your length of service ('period of continuous employment') will continue if the new role starts before the date of the transfer. Your employer will tell the new employer you will no longer be transferring.

If they do not offer you an alternative job, your employment will end on the date the transfer takes place. If the transfer happens before your notice period ends, you will not need to work beyond the transfer date. You will not be paid for the remainder of your notice period.

When the transfer happens

On the date of the transfer, your new employer automatically takes over your employment contract. This means your employment contract continues – you do not get a new one.

Your new employer must inform you in writing that there's been a change of employer.

Your length of service ('period of continuous employment') with your old employer will also transfer to the new employer. This means your start date is the same as it was before the transfer.

Your terms and conditions of employment

Your terms and conditions of employment automatically transfer to your new employer.

Terms and conditions of employment may include:

  • pay, including any overtime pay
  • contractual bonuses 
  • commission
  • sick leave and pay
  • holiday leave and pay
  • allowances
  • insurance-based benefits 

The responsibility for paying outstanding wages or unpaid bonuses will transfer to your new employer. 

An employee is transferred to a new employer in January. Their old employer previously paid a performance-related bonus in March. Their new employer is now responsible for paying them the bonus.

Any outstanding holiday, arrangements to carry over holiday or 'enhanced' holiday (if you get more than the legal minimum) will also transfer.

An employee's holiday year starts on 1 January and ends on 31 December. They have 10 days' holiday left when they transfer on 1 October. Their new employer must allow them to take this holiday before the end of their leave year, if the employee wants to.

If your new employer does not meet the terms of your employment contract, it's a breach of contract and you might be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

Transferring your pension

Your pension built up to the date of the transfer is protected. 

Whether your pension will transfer to the new employer will depend on if you have:

  • a personal pension – a pension that you arrange yourself
  • a workplace pension – a pension arranged by your employer

If you have a personal pension, your pension rights will automatically transfer to your new employer. This means your new employer must pay the same amount into your personal pension as before the transfer.

If you have a workplace pension, it’s likely it will not transfer to your new employer as it is exempt from TUPE. This means your new employer does not have to continue the same pension. But they must provide a reasonable alternative scheme and match your contributions up to a maximum of 6%.

Some rights, such as early retirement terms and 'enhanced' redundancy pay (more than the legal minimum), may still transfer to your new employer.

After the transfer happens

After a TUPE transfer, you might decide you do not want to work for your new employer.

If you do not want to work for your new employer

It will be treated the same as resigning and your employment will end. 

You’ll need to tell the new employer you want to resign in writing. 

In these situations, you'll:

  • usually need to work your notice period
  • lose any continuity of employment under your current contract
  • be paid any outstanding wages and holiday you've built up ('accrued') but not yet taken when your employment ends

You will not usually be entitled to any additional payments such as a redundancy payment or claim for unfair dismissal.

Find out more about:

If you have not been told about a TUPE transfer 

If you or your representatives have not been told about a TUPE transfer or given the name of the new employer, your employer has breached TUPE regulations. You may be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal

If you decide to make a claim, it should be as soon as you find out about the transfer. Employment tribunals may allow objections after the transfer to be heard. 

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