Are the changes in TUPE going to affect the number of tribunal claims?
Changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, otherwise known as TUPE, took effect from last month (January).
The TUPE protections ensure that employees don’t unfairly lose out when a transfer takes place and sets out the rules that the old and new businesses have to follow.
According to Jo Swinson, Employment Relations Minister, the changes “clear out the cobwebs” in some of the TUPE rules and cut red tape (though some would argue that the constant changes in this area are as big a burden as the red tape!).
The changes include:
- Businesses will be able to renegotiate terms and conditions provided for in collective agreements one year after the transfer provided that overall the change is no less favourable.
- If businesses radically change the way they provide services, the change is unlikely to be caught by the TUPE regulations.
- Amending rules on place of work so that any redundancies due to change of location will not be automatically unfair. This means businesses will not face possible unfair dismissal cases simply because of a change in location of the workplace.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has warned that the reforms could substantially weaken pay and harm job security.
In particular, they fear that low paid workers on contracted-out services, such as cleaning, catering and social care, could be hit hard with the changes to collective agreements.
In practice I am not convinced that these changes are as dramatic and wide reaching as Mr Swinson would have us believe. In relation to service provision changes the Government chose not to remove these provisions. This means that the legislation remains complex for many businesses and individuals who wish to switch between service providers.
Overall the legislation has been relaxed in some places which means that it is likely that there will be a small drop in the number of TUPE claims being lodged in employment tribunals but it is unlikely to be the ‘game changer’ it was billed as.
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