Responsibilities to employees if you buy or sell a business

Introduction

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 and the Service Provision Change (Protection of Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 give effect to an EC Directive safeguarding employees' rights when the business they are working for is transferred to a new employer.

Under both sets of regulations, collectively known as TUPE, in principle when all or part of a business is bought or sold or there is a service provision change, the terms and conditions of the employees who transfer in the sale are preserved and move across ie transfer to the new employer. In other words, in almost all cases, the new employer cannot change the transferred employees' terms and conditions to match those of its existing employees.

This guide explains which transfers are covered by TUPE, the responsibilities of the old and new employers, the rights of employees, changing terms and conditions of employment, the requirements to inform and consult employees affected by the transfer and the transfer of insolvent businesses.

Read a note on implementation of TUPE legislation in Northern Ireland.

Developed with:

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Employment and Learning

Labour Relations Agency