It happens quite frequently these days, you join one company and a year or two later the owners sell or the contract is lost and you move across to another employer. Or indeed you should!
There is legislation, often shortened to and referred to as TUPE, an acronym for Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment, which protects your job in the event that the company or service you work for is taken over by another company.
Typical examples of a transfer of employer are;
- A cleaning company loses a commercial contract yet there is still the requirement to clean the building(s), therefore the existing employees transfer to the new company that will be running the cleaning in the future.
- A restaurant is bought over by a bigger company that will still run the building as a restaurant or eatery and so the employees should transfer to the new owner/bigger company.
- A drilling and extraction company loses a commercial contract and a new company is appointed and so the employees working in the drilling and extraction area transfer to the new contractor.
- A major aircraft manufacturer uses an engineering company to provide support for servicing and maintaining their aircrafts. They decide to move to a different engineering maintenance company at the end of three year contract. In this example, the engineers working on these aircrafts should transfer from the existing engineering company to the new contractor as the requirement to service and maintain the aircrafts still exists.
So in the event you are subject to a transfer, what should you do?
- Firstly, look out your existing contract of employment, this transfers with you to your new employer. Importantly your start date with the old employer should be honoured (your length of service is preserved) in the transfer. So if you have worked for a company for six years the new company is required to acknowledge this and all of your rights attributed to your six years’ service transfer too.
- You should have consultation meetings with your existing employer and the new employer. These are normally set up by HR or your existing bosses and a formal invitation will be sent to you. It might be that your workforce appoints a representative for ‘collective consultation’. These representatives should in turn consult with you.
- For your consultation meetings, have a list of questions ready. You might want to confirm things such as holiday arrangements and pay.
- Clarify your transfer date and what will happen on the day of the transfer in terms of rota, management reporting, information transfer and systems use.
- Your new employer will need to receive some of your personal information from your current employer, however, they should ask your permission to pass on your data in the first instance.
- Your complete HR file should not transfer as a given unless you have approved this first.
- Your new employer should crosscheck with you that they have all of your contract of employment information correct. Make it clear to them, and have it noted, where there are anomalies and where over time things have deviated from the original written contract. For example, if your written contract of employment originally stated your hours of work as 9am to 5pm, but for the last four years you have been working 10am to 6pm, make that clear and ensure the new manager or HR advisor writes that down.
Please be aware this is not an opportunity for your employer or new employer to dismiss you, change your contract of employment, reduce your hours of work and make redundancies. All of your existing contractual terms should transfer and not be changed. In particular this applies to contractual pension contributions, sick pay and holiday entitlement.
If you have any questions about a transfer of employer at work, please download the HR Solver app where you can find more information about TUPE. You can also chat live with one of our HR Gurus who can give you more specific information about your rights.